Tag Archive | "Wimbledon"

Del Potro Rides Out Roddick In D.C. Final

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Del Potro Rides Out Roddick In D.C. Final


img_9960On the hottest day this week at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, upgraded to ATP 500, world number 6 and defending champion Juan Martin Del Potro took on top seed and world number 5 Andy Roddick in the finals.  In a captivating three set battle, Del Potro prevailed 3-6, 7-5, 7-6, becoming the first man since Andre Agassi in 1998-1999 to seize back to back trophies.

Despite Del Potro being in the top ten since June 2008, this was only their second meeting.  After Roddick sent a forehand into the net to give Del Potro a break point, with clutch serving, Andy held. Although Del Potro carried his first service game easily, at 1-2, great defense by Roddick contributed to Del Potro’s lob going long  which put the score at deuce. Even though Del Potro protected serve, Roddick appeared to be making headways.  After three successive aces pulled Andy ahead 3-2, Del Potro netted a forehand to hand Roddick double break point. Then,  Juan Martin gift wrapped the game with a double fault.  With a 4-2 edge, two decent service games was all Roddick required to secure the first set.

At the start of the second set, Del Potro recovered from 15-30 down to seal his game with a backhand volley winner. After a strong first game, serving at 1-2, Roddick double faulted and with a forehand winner Del Potro had a chance at 0-30.  But, Roddick responded with superb serves and forehand winners. However, serving at 3-4, a forehand crosscourt winner and excellent defense by Del Potro provoked two backhand volley errors, so Roddick faced triple break point.  Del Potro converted when Roddick’s backhand traveled out of bounds.  Yet, serving for the set, Del Potro misjudged a return which dropped in for a winner. Then, with an overhead winner, Roddick had break point.  Andy was back in the set when Juan Martin double faulted. But, after equalizing and Del Potro held for 6-5, Roddick committed three backhand miscues to send the match into a third set.

After each guy guarded serve the first two games, Del Potro muffed an easy overhead giving Roddick a break chance. Juan Martin then donated another double fault for Andy’s 2-1 lead.  After Roddick consolidated and Del Potro had no trouble on serve, the Argentine made two deep returns which resulted in backhand errors from Roddick and connected on a forehand down the line for triple break point.  When Roddick double faulted, the set was squared at 3 all. Hence forth, the two cruised on serve with the exception of Roddick’s small window at 15-30 and 4 all.  The set went to a tiebreaker.  Del Potro went ahead a mini-break 2-1 when Roddick sliced a backhand long.  They stayed on serve and with an ace for 6-3, Del Potro had three match points.  After Roddick held serve for 6-5, Del Potro misfired on a forehand after a sensational return by Roddick for 6 all.  But, an ace out wide earned Del Potro another match point.  On a second serve, Del Potro thumped a forehand crosscourt winner. Once Hawkeye technology confirmed the umpire’s ruling, Del Potro collected his second title of 2009.

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Gonzo Guns For Second Legg Mason Final

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Gonzo Guns For Second Legg Mason Final


lmtc_logo_mediumAt the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, Fernando Gonzalez used his big forehand to harass Tommy Haas giving him a 7-5, 6-4 victory.  Now, Gonzalez is one match away from making his second final appearance at a tournament where he  made his ATP debut a decade ago.   After the match, Gonzalez sat down to answer questions and MiamiTennisNews had a few it wanted addressed.

You were so close to getting to the final of another major in Paris.   Is there any part of your game you feel you need to work on that will help you get there as you did a couple of years ago?
“I don’t think that there’s anything really I have to change about my game which was demonstrated by the fact that I was so close in Paris. For sure I have to keep improving things. I don’t know, perhaps working more on my serve and net play, but all this gives me peace of mind”.

Your most successful year was 2007, in that you reached the Australian Open final with coach Larry Stefanki, why did the two of you part ways?
“[First of all ] Larry is a great coach and I was with him many years . [However], Larry and I had a major problem, he lives in California and I in Chile….So, I am very grateful for all that he thought me and I have a great respect for him.”

Turning to the semifinals where Juan Martin Del Potro will be his opponent, the last time the two met was the 2007 Australian Open.   As far as Gonzalez is concerned, Del Potro is a “different player”. Regardless, there is a level of comfort in knowing “[one] has a winning record” against the other guy.

Commenting on the atmosphere to be expected with his being Chilean and Del Potro Argentinean, would there be any tension?  Gonzalez cited “there may be a rivalry between countries, [but not between us players].  Juan Martin and I are really good friends. It should be a good match and should be fun”.

After Wimbledon, Gonzalez took four weeks off due to tendonitis in his right knee. Gonzalez said that the lesion is not as severe as Rafael Nadal’s. With rest and treatment, he has been lucky that the knee has been responding.  Thus, he hopes his good run will continue through the remainder of season.

Concerning his forehand, Gonzalez was asked the secret to that stroke being “such a weapon”.   Gonzalez answered “I don’t have fear if I miss. If you don’t take a risk, you don’t miss.”  In other words, one has to be willing to gamble.

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Roddick Meets The Press In D.C.

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Roddick Meets The Press In D.C.


img_9890After a prolong absence due to injury, Andy Roddick returns to competitive play at the Legg Mason Classic.  The three time champion at this ATP 500 event held a news conference this afternoon.  As expected, there were a flurry of questions regarding his disappointing lost at Wimbledon.  But the feeling was that Roddick is ready to move to a new chapter and that is his U.S. Open  campaign.

First off, Roddick made it clear that he has recuperated from the hip injury and does not view it as an issue in the upcoming weeks. Roddick cited that with his being off the court for a few weeks that he ” doesn’t expect to pick up where [he] left off a month ago”.  For him, it will be a step by step process with the intention of peaking at the last major of the year.  Regardless, Andy would like to get into the winning column again and to take it from there.

Turning to Wimbledon, for Roddick, it’s difficult to compartmentalize Wimbledon from the rest of year, in part because the media have been fixated on that.  However, Andy iterated that Wimbledon in essence was the reaping of the hard work that he put in all year.   This has been evident with the results he has posted since January. With Wimbledon, “I don’t know if I gained confidence from that [final].. Although it does help”, Andy emphasized that it has been “building all year”.

Contrary to what people might think, Roddick does not focus on the backhand volley that he missed since it was a lot harder than it appeared:  “I thought it was going long, and reacted late.. It wasn’t like I was trying to hit a ball to the ocean from the beach and missed.  To be honest, I have not thought about it that much. . .  [The defeat was]  yep heartbreaking, at the same time, not a lot of people get to play for that title. . . That part is never lost on me.  Ten seconds after the final I still realized that it’s pretty special thing”. Although Andy admits ” it hurts losing after two weeks of hard work, knowing that your defeat came at the hand of a player that will probably go down as the best ever, it does help”.  When asked if he would like to face Federer again, Roddick responded in the affirmative since it would mean that he is deep into the draw. Yet,  Roddick’s approach is not to look too far ahead.

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Keep Plugging Away Andy, You’ll Get There

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Keep Plugging Away Andy, You’ll Get There


img_3407After Roger Federer’s gut wrenching loss in the Wimbledon final last year, I felt obligated to impart on him some words of wisdom. This year, Andy Roddick was the one to draw the short straw in one of the most mesmerizing major matches ever.  Deluded as it may seem, I would like to believe that my advice has contributed in some minute form to the success that Federer has been basking in of late.  Considering that Roddick is a compatriot, I feel bound to take a crack at pushing him in the right direction.

Andy,

I hope you don’t regard it as disrespectful the liberty that I am taking in referring to you on a first name basis.   After all, I have followed your career for many years and for that reason I feel a kinship on some level. I must confess though that through your nine years on the ATP, our relationship has been tepid.  After making a big splash at U.S. Open in 2003, your results at the majors have been spastic. Disappointments after disappointments have caused me with time to consider you, as the Spanish maxim goes, ‘as a zero to the left’. From my viewpoint, a revolving door of coaches indicated that  you were unwilling to listen to the counsel of others.  As such, this left me doubting as to your capability of ever becoming champion at a major. Your performance a couple of weeks back at Wimbledon demonstrated your desire to succeed is still great and it not only reenergized your fans but gained you some new ones.

Effort has never been one of your faults.   Although in the past, your game has lacked focus.  In hiring Larry Stefanki and heeding his advice, you have retooled your game and developed other weapons to back up your powerful serve. Your forehand has always been solid and your play at net adequate.  However, by strengthening and reinventing your backhand  crosscourt and down the line, some of your strokes were purely sublime, you showed that your game can still evolve.  More importantly, you revealed in the finals that you are a thinker on the court in choosing the most intelligent shots.  You took risks when the situation warranted it, while restraining yourself. In the past panic may have ambushed your decision making.  Federer may have gained his record 15th major, but you gave him a fight to remember.

Complements at this time may appear hollow and shallow since you don’t have the Wimbledon trophy on your mantle. Whilst, it may be healthy to reflect on what could have been, the worse thing you can do is dwell.  For many seasons, you have walked through the draw with others expecting very little from you.  I would like to think that in the long run, this match will leave a positive influence.  As such, perhaps, the sanest approach is to regard this year as one of rehabilitation.  So keep working at it Andy, your major will come.

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A Tribute To Federer

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A Tribute To Federer


July 2009

This month’s video provides a tribute to Roger Federer’s sixth Wimbledon title. Federer captured his 15th Major Title making him the most successful male player in the Open Era.

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Tennis Eminence:  Federer Regains Wimbledon With Record 15th Major

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Tennis Eminence: Federer Regains Wimbledon With Record 15th Major


img_0461The Wimbledon championship was the scene for round 21 of world number two, Swiss Roger Federer, versus world number six, American Andy Roddick. For the second consecutive year, the men’s final had one exhausting superlatives as Federer vanquished Roddick in a five set marathon 5-7, 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 16-14 for his sixth Wimbledon prize and a record setting fifteen majors.

Roddick baptized the match by blasting away on serve and holding for 1-0. Federer, no slouch himself, kept up on serve. After neither neared the other’s serve, at 5 all, Roddick appeared on the verge of cracking. With two inexplicable errors, Roddick faced 0-30. But with two explosive serves, Andy forced Roger to miss. Yet, in the first long rally of the match, 18 strokes, Federer dipped a forehand so low that Roddick made a forehand error giving the Swiss his first break point. Still, with his star stroke, the serve, Roddick escaped. Federer got three more chances; however, Roddick came up with the answers each time and took the lead 6-5. Now, it became conspicuous to Federer that there was a new nuance to Roddick’s game. Although the serves were still coming at ungodly speed, Federer’s customary tactic of blocking them back was futile because of variety and placement. Furthermore, Roddick’s weaker stroke, the backhand, was producing winners either down the line or crosscourt, a novelty to Federer. These developments contributed to Federer slicing a backhand and forehand up the line long to give Roddick break point and subsequently the set.

In the second set, Roddick continued his brilliant play, volleying well from both wings. But, Federer’s shot making ability was also on display as he tracked down a Roddick dropshot and flicked it crosscourt for a backhand winner in a  23 stroke rally to hold for 5 all. No break point on sale by either man, the set went to a tiebreaker. A forehand error by Federer handed Roddick a mini-break for 2-0. Andy got a second mini-break and a 5-1 edge when Federer pushed a backhand down the line long. The Swiss appeared on his way to a two set deficit. Federer saved the first set point with a backhand crosscourt winner on Roddick’s serve. After Federer protected his serve, Roddick missed a backhand volley which leveled the tiebreaker at 6 all. Then, Federer provoked a volley error from Roddick with a low backhand to earn set point which the Swiss converted when the American’s backhand sailed long.

After the previous set’s disappointment, Roddick could have wilted away. To the contrary, with a forehand down the line winner, Roddick salvaged his first service game and carried his second at love. Serving at 2-3, Roddick sliced a backhand long donating to Federer a break point. Yet, with a great body serve, Andy got back on track and eventually rescued the game. With each player’s tactical acumen spot on, the proprietor of the set was settled by a tiebreaker. With a low backhand slice, Federer forced a backhand error from Roddick to go up a mini-break at 2-1. Subsequently, with Roddick netting a forehand, Federer extended his lead by two mini-breaks at 5-2. Roddick got one back with a forehand crosscourt winner and held serve for 5-6. However, Andy could not steal the set as Roger had done the second as Federer spoiled Roddick’s plan with a forehand crosscourt winner.

Again, there was cause to believe that Roddick’s 19th lost to Federer, his third at Wimbledon, was at hand. Yet, Andy’s body language did not waver. After each man was slightly tested on serve, holding at 40-30, Roddick held at love for 2-1. As Federer sliced backhand found the net and with Roddick converting a backhand volley winner, the American had double break point. When Federer misfired on volley off a sensational backhand pass, Andy had the break and a 3-1 lead. Despite a tough game, Roddick consolidated for 4-1. Although Federer pressured Roddick’s serve, he never achieved a deuce point. With a service unreturnable, Roddick pushed Federer to a fifth set.

After Federer held serve to start, with a backhand crosscourt pass, the Swiss had his first break point in a while. With a stellar first serve, Roddick induced a forehand return error and later equalized the set at 1 all. The subsequent seven games were an exhibition of masterful shots with winners and intelligent serving from both competitors. At 4-5, Roddick produced a forehand winner and an ace for the tie. Then at 5-6, the American squared things off with a down the line backhand pass. With no tiebreaker in the deciding set, the two played on. After Federer miscalculated a forehand crosscourt and a net court dropped for a winner for Roddick, at 30 all, the American seemed to have an opening. However, with a forehand up the line winner and a tremendous serve, Federer pulled ahead 7-6. With games at a premium, both players cruised on serve. At 8 apiece, Roddick blasted a forehand crosscourt winner. Then, with fabulous defense and another backhand down the line winner, Andy attained double break point. But, Federer came up with some dandy shots to ward off Roddick. As the set progressed, neither player retreated. Serving at 12-13 and 40-15, Roddick made a backhand error while Federer converted a forehand crosscourt for deuce. With two bombastic serves, Roddick protected serve. After Federer forged ahead 15-14 with a love game, Roddick committed two errors on deep returns by Federer. But once again, Roddick got to game point because of his dynamic serve. Although Roddick’s backhand crosscourt mistake led to deuce, with a backhand error, Federer gave Roddick a second chance to hold. However, when Roddick made a forehand up the line error on a mishit return by Federer, the American faced championship point. Considering Federer was 0 for 6 on break point conversion, the odds seemed in Roddick’s corner. Despite a good serve, Roddick had a forehand mid-court go long dashing his dream of a first Wimbledon title.

To count Andy out, Roger needed 4 hours and 16 minutes, 95 minutes for the fifth alone, the most number of games in any major final by far, 50 aces, more than 100 winners and as Federer himself admitted “ a little luck at the end”. As Pete Sampras looked on, Roddick did his best to “hold [Federer] off” and stop Roger from surpassing Sampras at 14 majors. With this win, Federer reclaims the number one ranking. However, he acknowledges there’s a footnote since Rafael Nadal could not defend his title. Federer achieved another rarity in tennis as Nadal did last year, winning the French and Wimbledon back to back.

After last year’s thrilling five set final between Nadal and Federer, no tennis fan could have dreamt that a similar spectacle would be repeated today. Once again, with this kind of unforgettable and mesmerizing performance, it almost makes one wish that the winner’s trophy could be severed in half.

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Nestor and Zimonjic Defend Wimbledon Title By Toppling Bryan Brothers While Williams Sisters Also Repeat

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Nestor and Zimonjic Defend Wimbledon Title By Toppling Bryan Brothers While Williams Sisters Also Repeat


img_9036As the top men doubles team squared off in the Wimbledon final, second seeds Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic defeated number one seeds Mike and Bob Bryan 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-3 to maintain their title. Moreover, after Serena Williams secured her eleventh major, she partnered with sister Venus to defeat Australians Rennae Stubbs and Samantha Stosur 7-6, 6-4 for their fourth Wimbledon doubles title.

After Bob Bryan put away a volley to hold at love, Zimonjic made short work on his serve to equalize things at 1 all. This was the pattern in the first set, with neither team getting close to deuce. Thus, the tiebreaker was called upon. With Mike double faulting, the opposition got up a mini-break for 3-1. However, when Zimonjic’s backhand volley sailed long, the teams were leveled at 5 all. After Zimonjic put away an overhead for set point, Mike’s volley found the bottom of the net giving the second seeds the lead.

Second set was a duplicate of the first as neither team could dent the other’s service game. The tiebreaker was required anew. This time with excellent volleying for winners, the Bryan brothers carried the set.

In the third set with Mike serving, a Bryan missed volley gave their rival their first break point of the match. Still, with a couple of service return errors, the Bryans held. Despite hairier games from both sides, neither team buckled. Another tiebreaker was in order. After Zimonjic and Nestor jumped ahead on the first point with a mini-break, the Bryans were unable to recover. The defending champions took a two set to one advantage. After Zimonjic held to start the fourth, his forehand return winner denied Bob game point. Subsequently, with two errors by the Bryans, the opposition edged in front 2-0. The next game with Nestor serving, a forehand down the line winner by Mike gave the Bryans double break point. But with three successive aces, Nestor scratched out any opportunity the Bryans had of closing the gap. With Zimonjic serving for the championship at 5-3, a couple of double faults gave the Bryans hope. However, with a couple of aces, Zimonjic clamped the door giving the second seed their second consecutive title.

A similar story was replayed as Serena and Venus took on the Australians. After break point chances were wasted, the first set was settled by a tiebreaker. With a topspin lob winner by Serena, the Williams built a substantial lead at 4-1. Then, with a volley winner, Venus sealed the set.

To open the second set, Stosur double faulted and with a backhand crosscourt winner from Venus, the Aussies faced love-30. Still, by forcing volleying errors, Stosur pulled out the game. With Stubbs serving at 1 all, with a forehand volley winner from Venus and a Stosur overhead going wide, the Americans erased double game point. Subsequently, Venus and Serena earned three break points which were erased by superb volleying from their counterparts. Nevertheless, there was a sense that the Americans were getting the upper hand. In the seventh game, Venus cranked with a forehand volley winner for 0-15. Afterwards, some crucial errors by the Aussies and a double fault gave the Americans break point. Serena capitalized by converting a backhand volley winner. Then, Venus consolidated by holding serve for 5-3. With Stosur saving match point, Serena was called upon to wrap up the championship. On the third match point, Serena produced an ace. This was the culmination of a fortnight dominated by the Williams’ whereby they even eliminated the top doubles team of Liezel Huber and Cara Black in the semifinals.

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Venus Bows To Serena In Wimbledon Final

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Venus Bows To Serena In Wimbledon Final


img_17251With five titles to her name this decade including 2008, Wimbledon has been Venus Williams’ playpen. For the second straight year, the ladies’ final featured Venus and Serena. For the third time, Venus was compelled to cede her most precious toy to little sister. Serena delivered a fatal punch beating Venus 7-6, 6-2 for her first Wimbledon trophy in six years.

Through the first seven games of the initial set, each woman was dominant on serve with very few rallies. In the eighth game, with a series of deep returns producing backhand and forehand errors from Serena, Venus got double break point. With a rocket serve, Serena saved the first break point. Then, after Venus missed a relatively easy forehand pass, Serena threw in two aces to hold. With neither person able to fabricate another break point, the set went to a tiebreaker. As a result of Venus netting a backhand, Serena obtained a mini-break. Then, with a forehand crosscourt winner, Serena had multiple set points which she converted with a beautiful topspin lob winner.

The second set commenced the same way on serve; albeit, Venus was relying more on her second serve to win points. In the sixth game, Venus opened with a forehand up the line error. Subsequently, with a couple of backhand errors from big sister, Serena had her first break point. When Venus double faulted, Serena gained a 4-2 lead. After Serena consolidated with a love game, the pressure was back on Venus. The defending champion started her game with a double fault and backhand error to go down 0-30. Serving at 30 all, Venus’ forehand went long gifting Serena championship point. However, Venus escaped with a strong serve for deuce. But, with a forehand up the line winner in a long rally, Serena had her second match point. However, Serena dumped another backhand into the net for deuce. Finally, with a crosscourt forehand winner, Venus had game point. Yet again, a backhand mistake cost Venus the opportunity to force Serena to serve out the match. As Venus misfired another forehand, Serena had her fifth match point which she banked as big sister made another unforced error.

Since the third round in 2007, Venus had not dropped a set at SW19. Venus’ aggressive net play which led to a thumping of world number one Dinara Safina in the semifinal final was noticeably absent today. On the other hand, Serena’s rough time with Elena Dementieva, needing to save match point, in a classic three setter may have given her the mental edge for this match. Later this afternoon, Serena and Venus will defend their doubles’ title against Australian Rennae Stubbs and Samantha Stosur. If the Williams sisters win, it will be Venus this year comforting herself with the doubles’ trophy.

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2009 Wimbledon Draw Is Out: Regrettably So Is Nadal

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2009 Wimbledon Draw Is Out: Regrettably So Is Nadal


img_9986-version-3Hours after the Wimbledon committee revealed the singles’ draws, turmoil ripped through the men and women side demonstrating that no player is a shoe in for the championship.

After losing his second exhibition match, Rafael Nadal, the top seed and reigning champion, withdrew due to knee tendonitis. That afternoon, female number one and top seed, Dinara Safina’s recovery after her meltdown in Paris was dealt a major setback. Safina was ousted in the semifinals by Tamarine Tanasugarn ranked 47th in a grass court warm-up tournament. Last year, Tanasurgan defeated Safina in the finals at this event.

Now, fifth ranked Juan Martin Del Potro replaced Nadal at the top half of the draw. Although Del Potro has been improving rapidly, more seasoned grass players such as Radek Stepanek, Lleyton Hewitt or first round opponent Arnaud Clement could be an obstruction. In addition, Del Potro could face Wimbledon finalist Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals. The extent of Roddick’s ankle injury will determine how much of a factor he will be. With a manageable draw, the prospect of Andy Murray becoming the first Brit since 1936 to raise the Wimbledon trophy looks promising. But, Murray may see Roddick or Del Potro in the semifinals. Despite Roger Federer’s multiple championships at the All England Club, with such a competitive field, other than experience, Federer has no distinct advantage. In the bottom section, Federer may need to go through the same stubborn rivals he battled in Paris to get to the quarterfinals. There, Federer could square off against Fernando Verdasco or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, both hungry competitors. Similarly to Murray, Novak Djokovic, Federer’s potential match-up in the semifinals, appears to have an easy path on paper. Yet, Tommy Haas who beat Djokovic in the finals at Halle could represent a roadblock.

Safina’s chance at redemption against Svetlana Kuznetsova may take place in the quarterfinals. Although with defending champion Venus Williams and Jelena Jankovic as possible semifinals opponents, Safina could be in the midst of a perpetuating nightmare. Venus’ performance the first couple of matches will determine whether she can prevail for a sixth time at Wimbledon. Serena Williams’ chance to avenge her Sony Ericsson lost to Victoria Azarenka could come in the quarters. However, Azarenka may need to knock off former Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova in the round of 16 before getting to Serena. With Vera Zvonareva slowly getting back from injury and Elena Dementieva’s dismal play the last few months, for players such as Dominika Cibulkova, Aleksandra Wozniak or Alize Cornet, the door is wide open to reach at least the quarters.

The Williams sisters will do double duty at a major again. Defending champion and seeded fourth, Venus and Serena will attempt to win their fourth Wimbledon doubles title. 2008 men’s doubles champion Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic, the second seed, will attempt to repeat and wrestle the number one spot away from Mike and Bob Bryan.

Ambiguity reigns at Wimbledon this year. On both the female and male side, it is truly anybody’s trophy. First serve comes this Monday.

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Murray Frustrates Blake In Queen’s Club Final

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Murray Frustrates Blake In Queen’s Club Final


img_1971From Paris’ red clay, the ATP moved onto London’s green grass this week. At the Aegon Championships final, Brit Andy Murray, the top seed and world number 3, conquered American James Blake 7-5, 6-4 to become the first British male since Henry Austin in 1938 to win at Queen’s club.

After each player held serve, Murray produced a break point with a backhand down the line winner. Then, when Blake’s forehand went off the court, Murray converted. However, with three successive forehand errors by Murray, Blake had double break point. The American crushed a forehand up the line winner for 2 all. A couple of times, Blake had small windows to take the lead. But, with errors, James’ chances fell by the waste side. After goading Blake into forehand errors in long rallies, Murray went on to secure a break for 6-5. Then, with a strong service game, the Brit captured the first set.

Subsequent to both players starting the second set well, serving at two all, Blake committed two forehand errors to go down 0-30. Yet, with a couple of good serves and by attacking the net, the American held for 3-2. After Murray protected service in a tricky game; leading 30-0, Blake made three backhand mistakes to gift the Brit a break point. Unable to handle a dipping return, Blake dumped another backhand volley into the net giving Murray a 4-3 edge. After easily consolidating and Blake holding, Murray closed out the championship with a love game.

By winning his first grass court title, Murray has thrown his name into the hat of challengers to Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer for the Wimbledon trophy. Nadal, last year’s victor at Queen’s, was unable to compete due to ongoing knee issues and it’s uncertain whether the Spaniard will be healthy enough to defend his Wimbledon crown. Another contender, American Andy Roddick is also a question mark for Wimbledon. Roddick was forced to retire in the semifinals against Blake after rolling over his right ankle.

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