Nadal Out for Revenge Against Tsonga Today at Indian Wells
by Sean Randall | March 19th, 2008, 12:17 pm
  • 107 Comments

If you are a tennis junkie or just a casual tennis observer, either way you have to be pretty impressed by the product Indian Wells is putting out there today.

That said, if you don’t have a ticket or access or decent TV coverage – no, FSN and Justin Gimestob doesn’t count – or some sort of online live streaming connection or you are stuck at work, you are probably screwed.

Anyway, what we have are the Top 3 men’s players all on center court today – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic along with the rest of the Sweet 16.

All eyes will be on defending champ Nadal who gets a crack at Ali Jr, Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. It was Tsonga of course who destroyed Nadal losing just seven games to the Spaniard in an Australian Open semifinals stunner. Tsonga was somewhat an unknown commodity in that match, today he isn’t. He’s a marked man and Nadal will want revenge and I think on a slower court and with a better understanding of what Tsonga brings to the table, Nadal gets it, or at the very least win more than seven games.

Says Nadal on the matchup, “I think I’m going to be fine tomorrow, no? After tomorrow for I go on court and for try to beat him, no? Well, going to be important to serve well, because he’s strong in his serve, and from baseline, try to play a little bit more aggressive than in Australia, no?”

Well, yes, Rafa, you’re going to have to serve well if Tsonga is on his game.

Top seed Federer has looked sharp through two rounds but he’s stepping up in class today against Ivan Ljubicic who is capable of serving his way to a couple of breakers and testing the Fed’s mental toughness. Then again the once-second ranked Croat can just as easily lay an egg. It’s his 29th birthday so let’s hope he puts up a good showing.

Djokovic will also be tested by the human backboard, Guillermo Canas, who remember made news a year ago upsetting Federer at Indian Wells and again Miami. Can he again pull off a similar feat by dumping Djoko? Possible, but I don’t think Canas is playing at the level he was a year ago at this time.

Also today, Richard Gasquet will try to remain perfect against James Blake in the evening, and on the outer courts, escape artist David Nalbandian, who twice was on the verge of being served off the court already in this event, faces former No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero. Ernests Gulbis and Radek Stepanek each served for the match against doughnut Dave but failed. It’s actually a good sign for Nalbandian supporters, that’s just how the guy wins. Never easy and I think he comes through again today.

Andy Murray and Tommy Haas should offer good viewing value. I think the match is in Haas’s hands so I’ll go with Murray. And Lleyton Hewitt, who’s quietly playing some good ball, is my new pick to get to the semifinals. Stan Wawrinka and Hyung Taik Lee are also on the schedule.

Let’s give some love to ladies, today we also have Maria Sharapova against defending champion Daniela Hantuchova. I think Sharapova will win – actually they should just hand her the trophy now! – but I think it should be a good match.

So it figures to be a good day in all. Let’s hope it lives up to the billing and we get some more March Madness.


Also Check Out:
Nadal Avenges Tsonga Loss, Blake Next
To Rest His Knees, Rafael Nadal Might Not Play Indian Wells
Poll: Djokovic, Federer, Murray Or Nadal, Who’ll Win Indian Wells?
The Nightmare Is Over: ATP Finally Approves The Indian Wells Prize Money Increase
Andy Murray: The Courts At Indian Wells Are Very Slow, They’re Also Very Slow Here In Miami

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107 Comments for Nadal Out for Revenge Against Tsonga Today at Indian Wells

Shital Green Says:

I copied and pasted this from the last thread as it appeared more relevant here, with one correction and addition.

Yes, Nadal will have his revenge against Tsonga !!

The emergent pattern at the IW so far has been relatively teleological, meaning the past has been some kind of indicator of the results so far we have and could continue to be so.

Except in the case of Wawrinka vs. Berdych, Fish vs. Davy, and Wawrinka vs. Baghdatis, all winners at this year’s IW have better H2H count. Roddick’s case is a bit complicated(H2H: 3-6, but on hard court: 3-2; H2H prevails here regardless of the surface). David Ferrer’s loss to Lee could be said to have been following the same pattern (H2H: 1-1, but on hard court 0-1). Look at the other losses: Dr. Ivo’s loss to Murray (H2H: 0-1); G-Lo and Mahut’s losses to Fed (H2H: 0-1 each); Seppi’s loss to Djoko (H2H: 2-0); Ancic’s loss to JC Ferrero (H2H: 0-3); Robredo’s loss to Ljubicic (H2H: 4-1).

And whenever the match is between two players who have never played before, the result seems to tilt toward the higher ranking / establishment player. If the same pattern follows between the players who have a tie in their H2H count, then the establishment player should have a slight edge today. Then, today’s victors should be Nadal, Djokovic, Gasquet, and Wawrinka (who is somebody to keep eye on for future as he has caused 2 upsets already). In the same way, Fed should prevail over Ljubicic; Murray over Haas; Hewitt over Fish; and Ferrero over Nalby.

I would like to see these players defying this teleology to prove me wrong and let me have the fun of surprises. I believe I have built myself to activate my masochistic channel and will derive pleasure out of pain the principle that I have decided to stick to may inflict if the surprise were to come at the cost of my favorite player’s loss.


jane Says:

I’ll move my response to you too Shital (see below).

I’ll also add this point: Murray has the misfortune of scheduling today which may work to his detriment. He played late into the evening last night and yet he has to turn around and play mid afternoon today. All the upper half of the draw are at a disadvantage in this sense. But by contrast, Federer played early yesterday and doesn’t have to play until 8:30 tonight. It makes sense as he’s number 1 so it’s a marquee match up, whereas maybe Haas and Murray aren’t (they’re on Stadium 2) but it may affect Murray’s chances. Maybe not though.

Interesting teleological analysis Shital.

But in this case I think the opposite results wouldn’t be “huge” upsets – if Blake were to beat Gasquet, for instance, it wouldn’t be too surprising, nor would it be if Tsonga were to beat Rafa, as we recently saw happen. Even Canas winning against Novak wouldn’t be a complete stunner since the Argentine plays well both here and in Miami, and took out Fed at both tourneys in 07. So if he were to take out the the Djoker this year, it wouldn’t be *that much* of a surprise (it’d be a disappointment, but that’s another issue). I’d have a tough time betting on any of these matches, in fact.

Wawrinka is a steady player, but I sure don’t find him very exciting or explosive to watch; he reminds me of Davydenko (now there’s a surprise; Fish winning through in that one). I’d rather see Lee win frankly.

What about Murray v. Haas, Fed v. Ljub, & Ferrero v. Nalby? Any teleological calls in these matches? They all play today too, I believe. Murray, Fed, Nalby to come through would be the established call I suppose. Yet I think Haas and Ferrero could win depending on the mental focus of their opponents: Nalby (wandering soul that is) and Murray (occasionally cantankerous soul that he is), but I see Fed winning against Ljubicic unless the gods shine down on the Croats old soul.

Chance or teleology – guess we’ll soon find out.


jane Says:

I’d pick Hewitt as the likely winner against Fish, since Leyton has the mental fortitude of a Mac Truck; Fish, not so much.


Shital Green Says:

jane,
I added the rest to the bottom of my 5th para.
As far as “hope” goes, I would like to see Nalby making through, but like you said, he is a “wandering soul.” If he finds himself in his zone, he should be able to get through, though.
Yes, there could be a series of upsets today, owing partly to unfavorable schedules. Even without the bumpy schedule, one cannot be so sure about betting on any player.


Shital Green Says:

Nadal breaks Tsonga in the opening game. Some good sign?


Shital Green Says:

What’s wrong with Nadal’s serves? They are not going in right. Tsonga breaks back right away.


Sean Randall Says:

Sluggish start to Nadal-Tsonga. Tsonga doesn’t look to have the same rythym he had in Australia while Nadal looks a little unsure.


Von Says:

Both Nadal and Tsonga seem to be very nervous, and as Sean stated, Nadal looks unsure, which can be expected, in view of his AO loss to Tsonga.


jane Says:

At least Rafa’s staying with Jo-Will so far.


Sean Randall Says:

Tsonga will have to serve better to win this thing.


Kash Says:

Tsonga getting his serve in groove just in time for the TB, if it happens to get there….. Rafa to serve to stay in the set….

Happy shopping zola ;)


jane Says:

Rafa is doing more with Joe Will’s second serve, so yeah, if Tsonga’s 1st serve % goes up, Rafa will have a tougher time hanging with him.

Rafa’ll have to take extreme care of his own serve and just wait for his chances. It’s 3-3 in the 1st t.b. – a nail-bitter this.


Sean Randall Says:

JW sneaks out the set, stepping up in the tiebreak. Both players aren’t at their best – though JW seems to be improving while Nadal still doesn’t look comfortable with the plan, assuming there is a plan.

Looks good for JW, but I don’t think he’ll runaway with it unless he really picks it up on his serve.


Shital Green Says:

Tsonga just took the 1st set, with his 7 aces, one even in the 2nd serve.


jane Says:

And an early break in the 2nd set. Jo-Will seems to have found his footing…


Sean Randall Says:

Rafa commits the cardinal sin, gets broken right after losing a tiebreak. Put the coal in the train…


jane Says:

Don’t stop fighting Rafa!


Shital Green Says:

Rafa breaks back (1-1 in the 2nd set), giving us some hope.


Von Says:

According to Yogi Berra, “It ain’t over, till it’s over”, and Tug mcGraw, “Ya gotta believe”, I’ll say Rafa still has a chance of pulling this thing off. Just keep on believing zola. :)


jane Says:

Meanwhile, in a parallel universe / tennis court, Nalby takes the 1st set off Ferrero 6-2.


Sean Randall Says:

This match is a crap shoot!

I still haven’t seen anything from Rafa to make me think he can win this playing it on his terms. Right now he’s relying on Tsonga making errors.


Sean Randall Says:

Thanks Jane! I had forgotten there were other matches!! Dave should win that one, but not in two, he needs to go three sets again. Why do in two sets what you can do in three?


Shital Green Says:

I cannot believe that Rafa missed that opportunity to break (he would be leading 4-2, to go for 5-2).


Shital Green Says:

Sean,
Looks like Nalby is gonna win in straight sets.


jane Says:

Sean,

“Right now he’s relying on Tsonga making errors.” – And we all know how far that got Murray at the AO. Come on Rafa, play your agressive tennis, no? Get a break!

“Why do in two sets what you can do in three?” LOL but for once it looks like Nalby is firing on all cylinders. He’s up 4-1 in the second so unless he wanders off to the Poconos again he should win it in two (of course as I write he loses one break – sigh).


Shital Green Says:

Rafa’s serve is killing him; plus, his returns are slow, giving Tsonga plenty of time to position and hit back hard and flat.


Sean Randall Says:

Quick matches mean Dave will have to do some training afterward. Three sets gives him the pass right to dinner.

Tsonga’s court positioning in much better than it should be against Rafa who usually pushes guys back. He’s not able to do it against JW. That said, set point Rafa.


jane Says:

Again Tsonga’s serve saves him and he thwarts two of Rafa’s set points.

Nalbandian has losing records against both Hewitt (1-3) and Fish (0-1); that said, Dave and Leyton have not played since 2005! And Dave and Mardy haven’t met since 2003!

So the H2H in this case doesn’t mean a lot, I don’t think. In any case, Nalby and Wawrinka are the first two to reach the last 8.


Shital Green Says:

Looks like JT won the match. For all Rafa fans, it is a sad news.


Shital Green Says:

Rafa says, “Not yet.”


Shital Green Says:

That “Not yet” is doing some miracle, and Rafa is on way to take the set.


Shital Green Says:

Finally, Rafa takes the 2nd set. I take some sigh of relief and hope he does as good as he did in this tie break.


jane Says:

Good Job Rafa! Way to hang in there.

Murray and Haas are underway now too.


Sean Randall Says:

Will they trade breaks AGAIN to start a set? Nah! Slight to edge to Rafa now, but not much.

The way things are going Ljubicic may not play on his birthday afterall…


Shital Green Says:

You mean Ljubicic withdrew from the match to celebrate his B’Day?


Sean Randall Says:

There are still three more matches on stadium before Fed gets on, which may not happen until very late pending the length of the earlier matches.


Sean Randall Says:

Tsonga not playing his best, but just good enough to hang around. Rafa’s missing a lot of chances.


CPTennisLove Says:

Rafa missed that chance to break break and blew it! My jaw hit the floor!!!


Shital Green Says:

Rafa just got broken, to give JT 4-2 lead. And JT is about to hold on to his serve, which would give him 5-2 lead.


jane Says:

And now Tsonga’s up a break – so looks like it will be Joe Will’s day and Rafa will have to wait for revenge another day.

Sad that. Sorry to Zola, who is one of Rafa’s biggest fans.


jane Says:

Murray, on the other hand, seems to be cruising past Haas at the moment. Maybe a Murray Djoker final? Or Murray Tsonga and Murray gets revenge?

If Tsonga gets on a roll, who knows, he could win it all!


Shital Green Says:

And in the 3rd set, JT has not had an ace so far. And Rafa’s 1st Return Point Won stands at 8% in this set.


Sean Randall Says:

Great stats.

Hard to argue that Tsonga’s even on a roll. He’s not close to the level he was at in Australia.


Von Says:

Zola:

Are you watching? It doesn’t look good for Rafa. Sorry. I wanted him to win.

Now, to Haas/Murray. This should be an easy match for Murray. Haas usually begins to have fitness issues from the 3rd round of most tournaments. Additionally, he now has that shoulder issue. I won’t be surprised if Haas retires.


Sean Randall Says:

It must be the madness. Tsonga can’t serve it out. Maybe he can “receive it out”?


Shital Green Says:

Ok, it’s getting exciting. Rafa breaks back and hopefully will hold on to his serve to yield 5-5 in the 3rd.


Daniel Says:

I can’t believe Tsonga! He won’t be mentally strong, even if it goes to tiebreak. This match is Nadal’s!


Shital Green Says:

Rafa breaks JT 2nd time in a row, 6-5. He has a chance to wrap up without going into tie break.


Sean Randall Says:

What a rollercoaster. Nadal now serving for it. The way this is going he’ll get broken and lose in a breaker! Ha. Who knows.


Sean Randall Says:

Nadal only had three break points against Tsonga in Australia. Today he gets four breaks.


jane Says:

Calling all Lexicographers – would someone please change the dictionary definition of “tenacious”???

Just put in “RAFA NADAL!”

Whooo-hooo! What a win!

Happy Zola? Bet you never gave up faith like I did.


Shital Green Says:

“Yes, Nadal will have his revenge against Tsonga !!”
That was my line in my 1st post in this thread. I am already celebrating Rafa’s victory !!!


Sean Randall Says:

Congrats to Rafa fans! He has his revenge. Though he’ll have to play better than today to defend his title.


Von Says:

Zola:

Congratulations!! Rafa did it!! Good job!! Tsonga has shown that he is mentally fragile when it comes to crunch time. WOW.

This reminds me of that Monte Carlo match, Fed/Rafa, where Fed was winning 5-2, and Rafa came back to tie it up and win the match.


jane Says:

The Djoker and Canas on next…

And speaking of rollercoasters, Murray’s now down a break in the 2nd set against Haas….


Shital Green Says:

Thanks everybody. I had a lot of fun sharing the ups and downs of the match with y’all. This would probably remain the the most exciting match for today as far as the number of times the wind changed its direction. A lot of emotions, fear and joy seesawing in a sort of whirlpool.


jane Says:

Haas just booted Murray out of the tournament! Fed will be happy, though he won’t be able to seek revenge.

Murray should’ve closed that out when he broke back in the 2nd set. But he didn’t; is he going to be another Henman – always the bridesmaid, never the bride, so to speak? I hope not.


jane Says:

Can’t see Haas beating Fed, presuming Fed will get by Ljubicic, which means Fed gets to the final unless the winner of Nalbandian v. Hewiit or Fish can beat him. Nalby could probably do it, if he gets through to the semi. I see Fed in the final though.


Shital Green Says:

It is sad that Murray lost to Haas. Murray lost this match because he could not convert his break opportunities: He only won 3/12 as opposed to Haas’ 3/8. Fed and his fans must be smiling at Murray’s unexpected exit. This probably opens a possible Fed vs. Nalby semi, a match a lot of us wanted to see.


sensationalsafin Says:

I’m a Fed fan and I’m pissed. Wtf Murray? Wtf?!


jane Says:

Shital Green,

“He only won 3/12″ – true, good point. I’d like to see Murray win a bigger tournament, A MS or Slam.

Djoker’s now consolidated his break in the second set, so he should get by Canas.

Then it’s Blake v. Gasquet, which could go either way, especially given that Blake will have huge crowd support with Roddick, Isner, Young and Querry all out.

Hewitt and Fish are about to begin, but although Fish’ll have the crowd behind him too, I’d be surprised if he wins.


Shital Green Says:

sensationalsafin,
Who are you mad at? At Murray because Fed would have a chance to avenge his last 2 losses? What makes you so sure about that?

jane,
Another reason I will have a good night tonight is Djoko sailed past Canas without sweating much in less than 1 1/2 hr. Fish just took a break. Looks like he is on the roll, too, so far.


jane Says:

Fish just blew his lead against Hewitt while serving for the first set; but Blake is still up a break against Richard and Fish could break back as it’s love – 40 as I write.

Shital Green,

“Another reason I will have a good night tonight is Djoko sailed past Canas” Me too – I’m happy that Rafa and Djoko both won, but sad about Murray.


jane Says:

If Blake continues like this, Rafa will have another nemesis to face; he’s never beat Blake (0-3 H2H). Mind you, they haven’t played since 2006 but that’s still a stat worth considering. Rafa is probably secretly rooting on Gasquet, who he’s always beaten (4-0 H2H)


jane Says:

Blake blows by Gasquet and gets the Frenchie off his back. Congratulations to James.


joker Says:

Rafa squeaked past tsonga! Sounds like an amazing win, but it sounds equally brutal too! Just about THE toughest way to win a HC match!

I hope there is an off-day for the men tomorrow. Rafa needs to be phyically ready for the blake match. Apart from overcoming the 0-3 H-H, rafa will be gunning for his 1st top-15 victory on out-door hard-courts since last year’s IW.

who has a tougher road? federer with haas, nalby and most likely joker/nadal

or rafa with blake, joker and most likely federer/nalby!

will order be restored with a federer-nadal final or the chaos continue un-restricted?


Voicemale Says:

I guess it’s possible for Nadal to beat Blake tomorrow. After all, Blake had never beaten Gasquet until tonight.

There’s no way to calculate how much a win like Nadal had today does for his confidence. He was on the brink of losing – lost his serve in the 3rd due to nothing but nervous tension, no doubt feeling the heat of his critics regarding his brand of hard court tennis. Yet he steels his resolve, and rips off the last 5 games to TAKE this match. He’ll go into his match with Blake soaring, and that might be enough.

The reverse could be true with Tsonga. No calculating how a loss like this will stay with him. He had it on his racquet, and then got out-witted and sent home, wondering how exactly he lost this match. He needs some maturity, and fast. He’s an example of what I call the Manic/Depressive Player. Life sure is grand when all your shots are going in for winners, everything works for you – it’s euphoria. That’s when we get Tsonga inciting the crowd to cheer him for every point he wins (obviously believing every one there loves Jo Willy as much as he does). When these type’s game starts working less and less, they unravel with astonishing speed. That’s what happened in the 3rd Set. Tsonga should have stopped his grandstanding long enough to realize he was up against someone that was focused, committed and has mastered the art of refusing to lose. Hope it takes a while for him to recover from this one, and let the lesson he got taught today sink in so he’ll grow up.


Franz Says:

MY point is made from ausie semis tsonga is a whiny annoyance


johnnhoj Says:

To blow a 5-2 lead in the third like that… ughh…
Tsonga clearly got too antsy, then fatally sloppy. Big mistake. Know your opponent.


Dr. Death Says:

And to tie the loop, Federer just finished off Ljubicic.


Daniel Says:

Well, no changing in rankings at least until Monte Carlo. With Fed’s QF he can even loose in Miami first round, Nadal winning both IW and Miami, that he won’t be bypassed.


MMT Says:

Voicemale: did Tsonga get outwitted, or did he just blow it with errors? Did you actually see the match? I did, and he blew it with errors. Clearly you’re not a fan of his antics – nor am I – but you cannot say that he was outwitted by Nadal when he just gave it away with errors. Full Credit to Rafa for hanging tough and never giving up, a pre-requisite for greatness, but it’s clear that he dodged a bullet here, and didn’t necessarily fire one off himself.


grendel Says:

I’m a Fed fan, but also a Murray fan. A lot of people dislike Murray because of his oncourt demeanour. Most of the drip-drip-drip venom directed towards Federer on this site has its roots in some variant of American chauvinism (no, not all; most means most, and all means all). With Murray – not a popular player, I think – it is more direct. Well, I like him, though not his brother. But above all, I like his tennis. To respond to Jane, I do think he has more natural ability than Henman, a lot more actually. But I don’t know. He’s British, innit. Occasionally, very occasionally, the British produce a great sportsman – for me, Ian Botham, whilst obnoxious personally, was the most inspirational cricketer since the war. But by and large, we’re a nation of plodders. Something to do with the climate, they say. Murray breaks that particular mould, but I’m concerned about a certain fragility – both physical and mental actually.

Meanwhile, Fed/Murray or Fed/Haas – both sounded enticing. And much as I revere Haas, I’d like Fed to win and face Nalby in the semis. I really do rate Nalbandian at his best as being Fed’s equal, and it’s looking like they’re both up and ready to go. God, Nalbandian makes me laugh. He breaks every bloody rule in the book. He’s been on the absolute verge of defeat twice running, then he comes back to thrash a player who thrashed him only the other day in a slam. He’s absolutely unpredictable. For instance, Voicemale’s wise words re Tsonga would not be applicable to a man like Nalbandian. He’s like a proud prince, somewhat disreputable, not afraid to play dirty (so he’s not your gallant amateur type), prone to be bored, and every now and then, nobody knows when or why, least of all him, gets the feeling on him that he’d like to play a bit of tennis. When that is so everyone, including Federer and Nadal, watch out.

Nalbandian used to irritate the living bejesus out of me. He had a way of going “iingh!” – a sort of strangulated grunt with an unusual vowel sound – everytime he got one over his opponent. It was nicely calculated to get right under your skin. But somehow, I’ve grown to appreciate the fellow. Love may not be quite the right word. Not for Nalbandian. But long may he be with us. He’s a true one off in an age of the manufactured article.


MMT Says:

Nalbo is a top quality player who usually goes on walkabout when it counts (exceptions: Shanghai ’06, Paris & Madrid 07′). But it will be very interesting if he and Fed get through to the semi-final.

Murray is an absolute wanker – can’t stand him. He just oozes self-absorption, petulance and tactical stupidity. I guess I wouldn’t dislike him so much if he weren’t so hyped by the British media, but then again that’s got nothing to do with him. He gets under my skin big time, so it should come as no surprise if he does the same to his opponents.

Great final 8 with 2 Americans (neither of which or Roddick) and the world’s top 3 + one forgotten Swiss player. Of all the players in this tournament I think the Djoker is playing the best and will pick up points on Nadal this week. Interestingly his parents seem to have stayed out of the limelight this time, so I can appreciate him more objectively, because every time I see them I hope he gets his ass handed to him.


grendel Says:

I take it you are British, MMT? Surely only the British use the expression “absolute wanker”? Once an avid newspaper reader, I never read them now – how does anyone find time to do all these things? But what’s new? Barry Cowan – now a likeable commentator with Sky Sports – once took a couple of sets off Sampras at Wimbledon. Of course, he was promptly hailed as the next etc etc – and earned an interview with McEnroe on Match of the Day. No one ever saw him again, until his emergence on SkySports. Andrew Castle took Wilander to 5 sets one Wimbledon – headlines, new British hope, potential Wimbledon champion, top ten, Davis Cup, knighthood, sainthood, etc. Nobody ever heard of Castle again, although he now commentates for the BBC – he’s the one with the oily voice who thinks he’s God’s gift to, well something or other, not quite sure what.

Because the British are no good at sport – as Goran Ivanesevic remarked angrily, when the delightful Chris Bailey actually beat him – the gutter press (largely owned by Americans) always hype anyone with the least pretension to holding a racket without actually falling down.

Poor old Murray! He is petulant, though I doubt if he’s any more self-absorbed than anyone else on the circuit. Tactical stupidity? Hmmmm. He can get into a rut, usually defensive, and he is also prone to dropshotitis. He recognises all this, but seems unable to snap out of it on occasion. Reckon he’ll learn.


jane Says:

“Murray breaks that particular mould, but I’m concerned about a certain fragility – both physical and mental actually.”

I also don’t think Murray is a plodder, and while MMT has a point that occasionally Murray’s tactics go awry (think drop shots, or hanging back against Tsonga) at other times I think he’s tactically very smart, makes great choices and plays a variety of shots and speeds to confuse the opponent.

But grendel’s right about his fragility: first, there’s the knee anomaly; that split cap could be an on-going issue for him. So here’s where Murray should actually heed Federer’s advice – shorten points (and matches) so he doesn’t put added strain on it. Second, he does seem mentally fragile, and I think this is in part because he’s a bit of a perfectionist, really. I don’t think he’s petulant at all MMT; I just think he – and as you mention, the British public – has very high expectations for himself, so when he doesn’t fulfill them he lets it get to him. If he could win a MS shield or a slam, then maybe he could cruise a little more.

“He’s a true one off in an age of the manufactured article.”

Great point: he really marches to his own drum. Professionalism? “What’s that?” Nalby might say; I’ve got a care to drive. Let’s just hope that if we get that semi-final match up between Nalby and Federer, that the Dave “who likes to play a little tennis” shows up. Then there might be fireworks.


jane Says:

With reference to my above post on Nalby, “care” should be “car’ of course…tired from watching Fed v. Ljub. I guess.

Petulant means childish or sulky to me; I guess Murray is bad-tempered at times, but he doesn’t go into the press room and sulk. Frustrated is the word that comes to mind – like he knows he should do better, is certainly capable of it, so when he doesn’t he loses his temper with himself. Maybe this is petulant, but he seems quite mature about it all to me, very self-aware of his own abilities and follies.


grendel Says:

yes, I agree with your correction on petulant. I do suspect, though, that he’s going to go on being frustrated in the manner you describe for most of his career. Some things are hard to change, even though you may be completely aware of them – that’s my experience, anyway, and I sense that in Murray.


rogers twin sister Says:

Sean Randal: I’m serving you a huge slice of humble pie with a side of crow. I could almost taste how much you wanted Nadal to lose. Brava, Rafa!

Grendell: I believe Murray would take umbrage at you for referring to him as a Brit. He was born and still resides in Dunblane, Scotland, and as such, he prefers to be referred to as a Scot.


grendel Says:

rogers twin sister:

Murray hates to be referred to as English – and quite rightly. Now many Scots want independence from the U.K., and, for what it’s worth, I support them in this aspiration. I believe (not on sentimental grounds – on sentimental grounds, I’d like to see Tibet independent of China, no chance of that alas) the signs are that they will get independence. Eventually. However, Murray chooses to play for the British Davis Cup team – from time to time – and so long as he does that, one must assume he doesn’t mind being called a Brit. He also refers to Wimbledon as being his home tournament – no Scottish patriot would do that. As a matter of fact, Scots are pretty split down the middle on the whole business of whether or not to go it alone. That said, Scots take more pleasure in beating England at football than any other country. Shame they can’t manage it very often…..


Zola Says:

Von, Jane,
I was not able to watch the match yesterday. CAn you believe that I missed this? I was calling and asking the score. I did not even have access to live scores.

I came home last night and immediately opened this thread and got a feeling of the match reading your comments. I couldn’t believe what I have missed. Although I don’t know if I could have stayed alive , especially at 2-5 in the third set!

But what a thriller for RAfa to come back at that point. He is amazing and that’s why I love him so much. The match is not over until the last point. He said it once in a press conference and yesterday he showed what he meant by that.

So, I have bought lots of coffee, a special cup of Earl Gray tea and lots of chocolates and cookies, for you all to celebrate this win with me, especially Von, Jane, Shital, Daniel are invited. Special guest is Kash ( I loved that shopping comment. I think I would have done that at 2-5!).

I managed to watch a 6 minute recap of the match today on youtube and I can’t agree more with voicemale. Tsonga was almost too overconfident. He lost concentration,trying to imitate Ali on the court, where Rafa was all focus and determination.

I also read the press conferences and I commend both players for their great answers. I think there should be a fine for the media when thet falsify information to provoke players against each other. Someone told Tsonga that RAfa said he didn’t have a game in AO! that is pure lie. Rafa said he played unbelievable and had almost no mistakes.

Tsonga was very smart to dodge that question. Then they tried to provoke him with quote from Roddick ( who was provoked himself by a quote from Tsonga). Tsonga dodged that one too.

I would like to see the names and affiliations of those who ask questions next to the question. They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with what they are doing.

This one from RAfa’s presser was my favorite. loved the anser:

Q. Yesterday after his match, Roger said he liked playing French players who I think show a great variety, more than the Spanish players who get the ball back. Comment on the difference between the Spanish and the French style and Roger’s comment.
RAFAEL NADAL: If I win the match 6-1, 6-1, later I say it’s very nice to play against one player, too. That’s my opinion. If you win one match like me today, it’s different. Your mind is different, no?
I think it’s not French style, Spanish style or Swiss style. Every player has different style. My opinion.

I also saw that Tsonga said he wanted to prove that his win in Australia was not an accident. I think he proved it.


Zola Says:

I am sorry for Murray’s loss. His on-court shoutings never botheredme. RAther, I think he wastes energy that he should be spending while playing. I can’t help but think that Andy’s losses are sometimes mental and emotional. I wonder how his relation is with his brother and his family.

I like to see Andy concentrate on master series and grand slams. He has great potential. A loss is just a loss and Tommy Haas is not a player to dismiss. There is still Miami and many other tournaments and I think Andy should put this los behind and concentrate on future wins. He is a very respectful and nice person and I like him a lot. I think him and Rafa should play regularly. Rafa will benefit from his tricky overall court play and Andy will learn to cope with pressure and great shots. Then we might have a No 1 in Rafa and a No 2 in Andy!


jane Says:

I’m glad the comments were helpful, Zola; I am really happy for Rafa.

I am a little stressed out watching Djoko at the moment though. The heat is working against him, not to mention Wawrinka, who is a very capable opponent. Djokovic has lost to him twice before so this match could go either way.

Djoko will really have to step it up if he wants to avoid an upset. if he can pull off a W in this 1st set, then he may get his footing, but so far Djoko is not his usual self. His serve is off, lots of UEs, not sure what’s up with him.


Zola Says:

Jane,
The live scores is frozen at 4-5 first set for hours! It is even the same on ATP TV. I watched the first set tie-breaker and Djoko won. I haven’t watched the second set. Wawrinka is a good a and steady player, but if the first sert loss gets in his mind then he is in trouble.

So far Federer has had the easiest path. Let’s see what happens from now on. I am not sure if Haas can give Fed any trouble.

Btw., I read in tennis.com that Mirka is pregnant. But they took away the line after a while. Might be a rumor, but it might also be an extra motivation and factor of happiness for Fed. If it is true, congrats to both of them!


Skorocel Says:

Yesterday after his match, Roger said he liked playing French players who I think show a great variety, more than the Spanish players who get the ball back.

——————————-

Amen to that, Roger! For those who disagree, just compare Tsonga, Santoro, or Gasquet to Nadal, or say Ferrer… See the difference?

Really, did someone of you see yesterday’s match between Nadal and Tsonga and the final stats? It read 22 winners for Nadal to something like 45 or 50 for Tsonga… Yes, as “many” as 22 winners for Nadal in a 3-hour long match (which went almost the full distance and was played on a hardcourt, nevertheless)…

Remember that all-important game when Tsonga was serving for the match at 5-3? How did Rafa won that one? The answer is: thanks to running down every ball – which in the end forced 3 ERRORS from the Frenchman! Poor Jo-Wilfried… The guy was trying to CREATE SOMETHING, but unfortunately, his opponent (who was once again just MESSING THE GAME UP) got better of him… Way to go, Jo-Wilfried!


jane Says:

Luckily Zola, I saw it all live on TV, and once Djoko got the 1st set behind him (7-6), he began to play much better, not his best, but better nonetheless. He took the 2nd set 6-2. He’s lucky that was Wawrinka though, because if it was a slightly better, or maybe I should say more experienced, player, I don’t know.


jane Says:

Skorocel,

“Amen to that, Roger! For those who disagree, just compare Tsonga, Santoro, or Gasquet to Nadal, or say Ferrer… See the difference?

Really, did someone of you see yesterday’s match between Nadal and Tsonga and the final stats? It read 22 winners for Nadal to something like 45 or 50 for Tsonga… Yes, as “many” as 22 winners for Nadal”

Well…why isn’t brilliant defense “creating” something? You said yourself that he forced Tsonga to make 3 UEs. Have you ever heard the proverbial saying “slow and steady wins the race”? Well, often anyhow, it’s true.

What Federer said is telling Skorocel; did you know he’s 33-1 against French players – OF COURSE he loves playing them because he WINS virtually every time. The Spaniards -and other good defensive players – who don’t let Roger get into his comfortable and exceptional offensive zone, have a much better record against him. And besides which, there’s no arguing that Rafa has helped Federer become a better player (the reverse is ture as well), so before we being to slag a whole country of players, who, by the way, all play differently, as Rafa jokingly pointed out in his press conference, it’s worth thinking about it more. Different strokes for different strokes fits well here too.
;-)


jane Says:

Nadal had 27 winners and I think the same amount of errors.

Tsonga had more errors than winners, and that’s why “slow and steady” won the race.


jane Says:

It might also be worth mentioning that Nadal and Ferrer are both top 5 players and only Gasquet is in the top 10.

I am not saying that offensive or defensive players are better; they’re just different. Some players play both well, or one slightly better than the other, and they’re probably more well-rounded. But sometimes those rivalries between the defensive baseliner and offensive volleyer are the best to watch.

Just trying to keep a balanced view Skorcoel, not meaning to be overtly argumentative.


Von Says:

jane:

“slow and steady” won the race.” *** Said to the tortoise to the hare, and also, the little engine that could, “I think I can, I think I can.” Seems as though we read the same fairy tales or had the same teachers. We’re dating ourselves! :)

Zola:

I know that you’re in seventh heaven, congrats again! How many fingernails do you have left?

Rafa: “The match is not over until the last point.”
** I guess Rafa was talking to Yogi Berra, whose slogan was: “It ain’t over, till it’s over.” Way to go, Rafa!


jane Says:

“Btw., I read in tennis.com that Mirka is pregnant.”

Oh – a baby tennis prodigy! Maybe their baby could play Andre and Steffi’s – wonder who’d win that one?

Von,

We’re not dating ourselves are we? Those are classics!


Von Says:

jane:

“Oh – a baby tennis prodigy! Maybe their baby could play Andre and Steffi’s – wonder who’d win that one?”

I’d say Andre/Steffi, a larger gene pool. But then again, the kids could just want to be entrepreneurs and forget about the family legacy. A baby is an assured way to get the nuptials moving.


jane Says:

Daniel,

THis article assures what you’ve pointed out about possible ranking changes and goes into greater detail about it; I thought of you when I read it and so am passing along the link.

http://www.tennisnews.com/exclusive.php?pID=24239

Cheers.


Daniel Says:

Thanks Jane,

I always appreciate when you guys put this links so we can get more information. Not knowing many other sources I stay attached with this blog and the ATP site, waiting for new stuff!

Looking forward to Nadal’s match! If he can pass through Blake he will pass Djoko and we, most likely, will have a Fed x Nadal final with both drooling for the first title of the season.


Zola Says:

Daniel,
I so hope that Nadal can pass through Blake. I think he will be very tired from last night’s match . But if by some miracle he can get past that, I bet he can play well-enough to beat Blake. Come on RAfa, you can do it!


Von Says:

Zola:

“Come on RAfa, you can do it!” ***

Rafa says: I think, I can, I think, I can!! :)


Zola Says:

Von,
he really did! Maybe he heard me!

I am so happy for Rafa. It is great for him to experience these types of wins against those very aggressive players. It is great confidence builder and will help him improve his hard court game.

btw, did you get your tea and chocolates?

VAmos RAfa!


Skorocel Says:

jane said: “Well…why isn’t brilliant defense “creating” something?”

Sorry, but I have to disagree… Did you see that aforementioned game when Tsonga was serving for it at 5-3 in the 3rd? I mean its very 1st point… Tsonga played a very nice penetrating forehand (understand: he tried to CREATE something), but Nadal just got the ball back and then a couple of shots later won the point thanks to Tsonga’s unforced error…

I mean, who would you pay for to watch? A player, who indeed tries to CREATE something (understand: produce WINNERS), or a player who just stands 3 m behind the baseline, FEEDS on the opponent’s game (understand: wins the point thanks to the opponent’s ERROR) and makes him MISS? I’m sorry, but to tell you the truth, I’ve NEVER seen an uglier game that that of Nadal! NEVER! The guy doesn’t play the game for winners – he just sucks that error out of you!

People were criticizing Sampras for being “boring”, but the truth is the guy not only had a COMPLETE game (capable of winning the point either from the baseline or at the net whenever he wanted), but most importantly, his “philosophy” was to win the point by hitting a WINNER, whereas this Spanish guy just makes you MISS! Got my point?


Von Says:

Zola: “I am so happy for Rafa. It is great for him to experience these types of wins against those very aggressive players. It is great confidence builder and will help him improve his hard court game.

btw, did you get your tea and chocolates?”

I am happy for you that you and all of his fans are enjoying his success, and wish him all the very best in his upcoming match with Djoko.

The tea and chocolates were delicious!


jane Says:

“Got my point?”

Skorocel, yes, I do understand what you’re saying and you’re, of course, entitled to your opinion, but I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one.

I think Rafa’s amazing speed, his ability to turn defense to offense, his ability to draw the error from the other player are all creative endeavors that are very exciting to watch. Actually, he’s one of the most exciting players to watch, hands down, in my opinion. He’s careful, determined, amazingly dexterous.

But I’m not going to change your mind so c’est la vie. :-)


Daniel Says:

I partially agree with what Skorocel are saying. But yesterday match there were a lot of good defensive winners by Nadal too.

Blake should never be broken in the 5-5 of first set. He could have won that match in two sets and when he lost the break chance in the first game of third set I thought: That is it, Nadal will win breaking Blake in 3-4 or 4-5 as Nadal start serving the set. No surprise for me in the end.

The merits go to Nadal who in exact 3-4 change his returns and surprise Blake going to 0-30. He won that game with the same weapon the adversary used the entire match. All credits to him!

Now Nadal has probably Fed or Nalby in the final, IF he passes Djoko. Nalby he never won and Fed, he doesn’t win anymore in hard courts.

If he can successfully defend his title this year, the way he is surviving I will have to take the hat.


jane Says:

Daniel,

I agree Blake could’ve won the match and that so much hinged on the first set. That he got broken was one thing, but to stop mid-point, set-point on a questionable challenge was crazy!!! Had he kept playing and won the point he might’ve got to deuce, and then who knows? If he had gotten it to a tiebreak, it could’ve gone either way. To me that was the worst thing Blake did in the match. Otherwise, he should be proud of the way he played, because he was really on his game.

When Rafa broke James in the third set, however, that was all Rafa, hitting winners off second serves. Sure Blake might’ve got more first serves in, but Rafa went for all-out winners on those returns and really earned that final break. Mentally, as well, I’d say he was that little bit stronger.


Zola Says:

Jane,

***Actually, he’s one of the most exciting players to watch, hands down, in my opinion. He’s careful, determined, amazingly dexterous.***

Indeed!
His matches are always those that are the most exciting in a tournament. Because he pours his heart and soul into the match and makes it a battle field ( when he can). His match with Murray in AO 2007, Rome 2006 final, Wimbledon 2007 final, Semi-final with Moya in Chennai,….

The best matches of this tournament,too ( so far) have been those of Rafa with tsonga and RAfa-Blake. I find his game very exciting.


Zola Says:

By the way, I am glad Rafa won Blake and Tsonga, not because of the result, but because he finally found a way to tweak his game and win aggressive opponents.

His strength is on clay and the way he plays is the unique way that gives him this level of comfort on clay. He can’t change his game much for hard courts.But what he has been doing in the past couple of years is changing little things that can help him win. I think that’s a great factor. Lots of Rafa’s wins and losses deoend of his confidence in his game. Wins over Blake and Tsonga are great lessons for him to understand what he has to do or shouldn’t do in a match against aggressive players.

Right now Djoko has better results than Rafa on hard courts, but Rafa’s best tennis on hard courts is still ahead of him. I think at least a stronger serve will do him wonders.


Skorocel Says:

To jane and others:

Of course, I have no problem to accept your opinion re: Nadal’s game. You find it interesting, I don’t. For me, it’s just painful to watch his matches – simply because he’s not the one who’s creating. He just lets you “do the talking”, and then literally “sucks” that error out of you…

Same as with the Italian catenaccio in football, I find Rafa’s game destructive. In other words, everything which the opponent tries to create – he will just (literally) DESTRUCT. In 90 % of his matches, he won’t go for outright winners (like Mardy yesterday) – unless he’s in a perfect position, of course… He will just go on with that “steady”, percentage tennis with the intention to wear his opponents down, hitting that 5000 rpm topspin forehand to opponent’s backhand ad nauseum. Now add his immense physical condition (which helps him to cover an enormous area on the court) and you have a perfect proposition to DESTRUCT your opponent’s game… BUT there you are, Rafael! Your destructive game will soon turn against you and begin destructing YOU and your knees…

You may think he’s helped Fed to become a better player (and vice-versa) and that it’s always a pleasure to watch their matches because of the contrast of their styles. Well, could be it, but to tell you the truth, I HATE to see those matches – regardless of the winner… No matter how many times will these 2 play, it will be the same old story: Nadal’s topspin forehand to Fed’s one-handed backhand, and so on, so on, and so on… Now compare that to the Sampras vs Agassi rivalry – that was a PURE contrast! One guy with a an almost unreadable serve and simply phenomenal volleys, whilst the other being an aggressive baseliner with excellent returns and ball-striking qualities. Whenever these 2 played, it was a treat to watch, because most of their rallies ended with a WINNER, but with Nadal, most of the rallies (I’m not saying all, but most) end with an opponent’s error… Just remember that AWFUL (that’s a weak word!) FO 2006 final – what on paper promised to be a dramatic and entertaining encounter, ended with a total boredom… Just FYI, when I reviewed that match from tape, I’ve came up with no less than 71 UEs (!) from the Swiss, of which 47 were from his backhand side (thanks to that Nadal’s neverending 5000 rpm forehand pounding)… That’s 71 points for the Spaniard purely because of an ERROR from his opponent! How could this be “attractive” to watch is simply beyond me…


jane Says:

Yes, I loved watching Sampras v. Agassi Skorocel, but I love watching Rafa v. Roger too. I think watching Rafa v. Fed on grass is almost more exciting than on clay because it’s faster and Rafa has to be more aggressive. Federer v. Rafa on clay is, I agree, less exciting. But certainly it’s Fed’s contributions to the match too; he needs to get to the net more, finish off points quicker so he doesn’t end up in the corner hitting backhands. McEnroe, in his commentary, blamed Fed for the outcome of that match, and for Fed playing right into Rafa’s hands. Probably easier said than done to work around that though.

“You may think he’s helped Fed to become a better player” – actually these are Federer’s words, not mine; Federer has said many times that Rafa has helped him become a better player, maybe as recent as one of his press conferences at this tournament.

Anyhow – we could go back and forth ad nauseum, but alas will not change each other’s minds, so I’ll stop now. Cheers.

Top story: Djokovic v Murray Halloween Friday In Paris; Raonic, Ferrer Fighting For Final London Berth
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ATP - Oct 27 WTA - Oct 27
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Roger Federer2 Maria Sharapova
3 Rafael Nadal3 Simona Halep
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Petra Kvitova
5 Tomas Berdych5 Ana Ivanovic
6 David Ferrer6 Agnieszka Radwanska
7 Kei Nishikori7 Eugenie Bouchard
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