Nalbandian, Blake Bounced Early at French Open
by Sean Randall | May 29th, 2008, 9:07 am

Look what I missed while I was sleeping, James Blake blowing a first set break to eventually lose to 19-year-old Ernests Gulbis, and David Nalbandian caving in after a 2-set lead against French newcomer Jeremy Chardy. Or maybe it was a good thing i was asleep.

Gulbis has a lot of potential, and I like his game. And on clay that’s not much of a surprise that he gets by James, but Nalbandian can’t be choking a two-set lead to a kid from France. That can’t happen if you are David, but it did.

And with my Janko pick long gone, I think Gulbis may be the guy to get out to the quarterfinals to face Novak. And with Nalbandian out Nicolas Amagro is the favorite to meet Rafa, though I think it won’t be easy for the Spaniard to get by Andy Murray tomorrow.

As for the rest, tough to say with the weather. Roger Federer though has to be feeling good. No rain problems for the Swiss thus far and his draw still looks like cake. Plus the wetter court conditions should suit him.

After a shaky start, Djokovic looks to have righted his game, and unless Mathieu can really harness the power of coach Mats Wilander I can’t see anyone stopping Novak until the semifinals.

Nadal, who’s on court now, has had the toughest tournament of the Big Three. With all the rain and having to beat that Thomaz Berllucci guy – too bad he opened with Rafa, he could have done some damage with a friendlier draw! – and the current struggle he’s in right now with Nicolas Devilder, Rafa’s expending some serious energy. And I think he’ll have to play again tomorrow if he wins – that’d be his fifth straight day on the schedule!

I love that my man Gael Monfils got through. I like his draw as well, though he is more than capable to lose to anyone. I also like Igor Andreev doing a lot of damage. He should go far. And I’ll still lean to Dayvdenko, though this injury of his might be a problem.

Then again all this is up to Mother Nature and the rain I guess. Let’s hope it stays away long enough so we can get some good tennis in.

Also Check Out:
Nalbandian v Blake in Washington; Harrison, Isner Also in Action
Nalbandian, Tsonga Fight for Shanghai in Final Match of ATP Regular Season in Paris
Nalbandian Wins in Return
Moya Hits Low After First-Round Loss; Blake Wins at French Open
Youngsters Raonic, Dimitrov, Tomic Win In Stockholm; Blake Upsets Del Potro

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63 Comments for Nalbandian, Blake Bounced Early at French Open

jane Says:

Nalbandian – there he goes again. Sheesh.

The Blake result, while disappointing for him & Americans, is not as much of a shocker, imo, since as you say Sean, Gulbis has game. He’s the kind of player that could cause some serious trouble to the regular scheme of things.

But in that article on the RG site, I couldn’t interpret whether he’s very ambitious or not, and often that’s a key factor in a player’s success.

jane Says:

People are talking about Rafa getting pushed but even if the first set was tight, he’s up 5 love in the second. I don’t know if that’s a bad omen. Let’s face it, Belluzci played very well, and the conditions are less the desirable.

I see Stan is being pushed by Cilic, which is not surprising either, as he’s another young player who has considerable potential.

“Rain, rain, go away, come again some other day…”

Shital Green Says:

Zola should be happy with Nalby’s unexpected exit. I wanted to watch Nalby playing Rafa. I am a bit sad Gulbis proved a little stronger for Blake. Both Chardy and Gulbis deserve at least to carry on to the quarters and hope will leave their mark of excellence.
Montanes was playing great tennis this morning until the match was called indefinitely. Federer’s serve saved him from losing the set. At 4-5, Montanes had break point twice, but each time Fed’s serve was too accurate for the Spaniard to return and rescued him from digging a hole.
When the play resumes (who knows when?), Nadal will have an easy win over Devilder, who is not even as good as Bellucci.

Shital Green Says:

Nalby vs. Chardy match is being shown 2nd time right now. Even those first 2 sets that Nalby won, he played really bad. His drop shots were miserable. And in the last 3 sets, he was a complete wreck. Chardy is not much of a a player, nowhere near Gulbis. I cannot believe Nalby lost to this guy.
Rain has stopped and soon Nadal and Fed will be back on the court.

Shital Green Says:

Fed’s serve and backhand slice volleys helped him quite a bit to hang with Montanes in the 1st. His other weapons have not been very effective so far. against Here you go. Montanes takes the 1st set. The match is looking more interesting now.

Shital Green Says:

Majority of Fed’s 22 unforced errors in the 1st was forehand. He has been able to cut his unforced errors impressively in the 2nd set, and he will win the set 6-1, for sure. This is a great comeback.

I like tennis bullies not tennis sissies Says:

federer has to be the luckiest boy alive he was saved by yet another rain delay.

I like tennis bullies not tennis sissies Says:

nadal wins 6/4 6/0 6/1

tell me how exactly did devilder push nadal?

Fed-Rafa Says:

Too bad Federer started pounding montanes before the haters could start their celebrations!

The misery continues for another 2days at the very least for fed-haters.

Rafa and fed just dont like to lose, do they? They just annihilated montanes and devilder after the 1st sets.

Fed-Rafa Says:

Too bad Fed pounded montanes before the haters could start their celebrations. You could sense the drooling in this blog just half an hour ago. Looks like its mouth shut for sometime, then!

The misery continues for the trolls.

Shital Green Says:

For Nadal, it was a cake walk. The same seems to be true for Fed now as he cruises with 2-1 lead and an early break in the 4th set. He has the match completely under control after the slump in the 1st set. In the next 15-20 minutes, he will be wrapping the match.
They did not show Nadal’s match much after the 1st set. And after the 2nd set, they stopped showing Fed’s match, too, as it appeared he was going to have an easy win. But they are showing the most interesting match of the day now: Safin vs. Davydenko. Both are playing extraordinarily great tennis in the 1st set. It looks like the 1st set will go into tie break. It’s fun to watch the battle of the TWO RUSSIAN, but at the end Davy should be able to pull it off, but it could be Safin’s day. Who knowns?

Sean Randall Says:

Devilders pushed Nadal in that first set when I wrote my post. Then it ended rather swiftly!

jane Says:

Shital Green,

I too was a little sad for Blake, but it’s always nice to see an upstart if he can be consistent with his results.

I wish Safin could’ve taken that first set; now Davy has momentum and is up 2 love so that doesn’t bode well for the big guy.

A weird, topsy-turvy match for Roger, with this fourth set becoming tight again. The conditions, imo, are throwing off player’s rhythms, throwing the players for a bit of a loop.

jane Says:

Stepanek is cruising; he’s got to be considered a real threat here after his performance in Rome against Roger.

Shital Green Says:

Hi Jane,
Yeah, the condition is bad today, too, but not as windy as it was yesterday. The rain factor was there until Fed-Montanes were playing for 5 all. After that, it has not been that bad.
It was not that Fed was playing any different from the 1st set, but with the beginning of 2nd set Montanes’ game suddenly started going down hill with a lot of errors, well until the 4th set when he showed some resistant, but it was too late and too little. Although I did not get to watch the last set to make any judgment, but looking at the score, I would say Fed did not have much difficulty despite Montanes’ strife.
And, yeah, Stepanek seems to have found his Rome form against Vanek. Hopefully, he will continue this streak through out.
It good to see Youzhny doing surprisingly well on this surface, had an easy win today against Maximo. I am glad that Gonzu, Verdasko, and Wawrinka all made it through.

Ravi Says:

Novak sure has the easiest draw. I think Fed has the toughest draw with Ancic, Ferrer in his quarter. Novak seems to have all the lucky breaks.

jane Says:

Well in the 4th, Federer wasn’t struggling per se; however, Montanes did break back when Fed was serving for it at 3:5, but then he lost his own serve immediately thereafter. Had he been able to hold, it would’ve been back on serve, and then, who knows? Possible a 5th set.

grendel Says:

Just to blow my own trumpet (what fun that is!), I did remark that Nadal would be waiting in the quarters – but would Nalbandian? He’s a strange character, he was barely trying. His serve for example, which has now become a potent weapon – he was just rolling them in. There was no intensity, just a sort of resigned look. Why? No idea – but, we do know from experience this can happen, and that is why all this confident talk of easy draws seems to me misplaced. You really do never know. And now it would be hard to say that Nadal’s draw is any harder than Fed’s at least until the semis. And even there, there’s not a lot in it. I watched the first set of Safin/Davydenko (Safin had 3 set points) which Safin only lost because of a slight edge in confidence. Nevertheless, Davydenko was superb. Two wonderful flat hitters going toe to toe. Regardless of today’s result, this bodes well for Safin if only he can keep the kneeknocking, shoulder wrenching, wrist twisting gremlins away.

If Fed and Davy both reach the semis, it should be a tremendous occasion with Federer slight favourite – no more. Davy is tougher than he was last year, and I doubt he’ll choke – Fed will have to earn a win. Meanwhile, Fed fans should be heartened. Following the rain break, with Fed potentially in trouble, he came out with renewed vigour and served well. But then he played an alarmingly poor tiebreaker. O-oh, here we go again. Do we? Not at all. Federer AGAIN regrouped, this time successfully. I thought, psychologically, this was significant.

Federer seemed slightly sluggish in the first set, then this was cleared up. Could that be his age? He’s 26 homing in on 27 – hardly ancient, but old enough, perhaps, to be vulnerable when cold. One surprising thing, one of his serves was clocked at 136 mph – that’s much faster than any I have ever know him to serve. Sign of the times? Mats Wilander made an interesting point. He said that too many of Fed’s returns of second serve were respectable, but relatively harmless. That he needed to hit the ball much higher over the net, really letting rip with heavy top spin. Oddly enough, just after he said this, they switched to the other court to show Nadal closing his match. And there we saw exactly what Wilander meant. Excellent timing. Watching Federer and Nadal so closely after each other, these were the impressions, doubtless naive, of an enthusiastic spectator: (it would be interesting to know what a proper tennis player thinks) Nadal is clearly much more expert on clay than Federer; another way of saying this is that his game is much better suited to the surface. On the other hand Federer is just, at his best, a player with far more options than Nadal – a more skilful tennis player, in short. If we take the mind out of it – which of course we can’t, unfortunately (from a Fed fan’s point of view) we have a potential battle between two different types of expert, one a specialist, and one a generalist, to coin a term. So far, the specialist has won fairly easily. Will this continue?

One tactic from Federer I thought interesting: a lot of running round his backhand, with attempts to hit the forehand not, as is customary, cross court, but down the line. These attempts were not, on the whole, very successful; but one couldn’t help wondering whether he was not – er – practising, with a certain gentleman in mind.

An interesting comment from Chris Bradnam: “I was watching Federer warm up with Santoro this morning. They were having a bit of fun, practising trick shots. Just a case of getting warm and getting the arm over, I guess. Quite amazing!” “looks like he was enjoying it,” was Wilander’s comment. He responded to Bradnam’s query as to how many more opportunities did he think Federer had to win the French. Wilander took a long time to reply, and I think most people might agree that it was unusual. He thought Federer had many more chances to win the French than to win the US or the Australian, because he thought he’d struggle against players, a la Djokovic, taking the ball so much earlier. He didn’t elaborate. Presumably he meant that Federer’s reaction times are, with the passing of the years, going to be just that tiny bit slower – not such that anyone like most of us could possibly notice, but enough so that skilled performers can capitalise.

Fed-Rafa Says:


You need to wake up and see the actual Federer-Montanes match. When did Federer get broken? He saved all 6 he faced today. We all know what you and your green friend wish for! You need to disguise things better next time!

jane Says:


You’re too paranoid; are you watching “strawman” movies – lol! There is no conspiracy between me or anyone else that I know of. I admit I was following the match from work, so perhaps I must’ve misread the scoreboard; I had thought it was Fed serving for it at 3:5.

Thanks for pointing out my mistake. Maybe I am a little sleepy, alas.

grendel Says:

Don’t want to hog – but can’t resist quick comment. Just saw end of Ferrer/Santoro (and only end). Santoro only won one game – but he was all smiles. Some guy. Will always remember his first set against Ferrer in AO two years ago. He had Ferrer running agitatedly left right and centre, pulling his hair out and generally looking a fit candidate for the local bin. “He’s making Ferrer look a total WRECK!!” the inimitable Bradnam called out excitedly. A true pro, Ferrer did come back though. And now one must assume he is a real threat.

“He’s in Federer’s half” commented Frew Macmillan, “which will please Nadal.”

Wait a minute. What’s going on? I thought Federer was supposed to have the easy draw.

Have we all got it wrong?

jane Says:

Grendel – there are a handful of players who’ve won the French at a later age, Agassi of course being one of them, so Wilander’s comment seems to make sense.

I thought of you when I read this morning that Nalby lost and wondered if you’d show up to toot. Why not? It’s good to be right.

grendel Says:

Did anyone manage to catch the Horner/Monfils match? I saw most of the 3rd set, and it became fairly hilarious. Horner broke Monfils, and it looked like he’d take it into a 4th set. This was serious, because Monfils was panting away, grabbing onto anything there was to grab onto, and generally making Djokovic look like an advert for smooth and easy breathing. The light was good, too, so no remission there.

But then Horner – the silly ass- went and lost his serve, and hence his advantage. Realising that Monfils was barely able to stand up, Horner went for the drop shot in a big way. Trouble is, he did rather advertise them, and made such a mess of it that he went and lost his serve AGAIN.

grendel Says:

Sorry, computer playing up. This is continuation of so called last post(which wasn’t meant to be posted).

Monfils now a break up – but, in such a state, that you felt Horner still in with a chance. But then HE became knackered – in fact, if anything, he looked worse than Monfils.

It became clear that the winner was going to be who ever could stand up. Monfils, serving at match point, had to pull away, cramping badly. His corner were gesticulating wildly at him, holding up one finger. One more point!

Could he do it? Horner looked on grimly. He couldn’t really stand, but then nor could Monfils, so Horner understood he was in with a chance.

However – Monfils somehow won his point. It was pretty exciting, I can tell you.

One serious point, though. Why does such a huge talent as Monfils allow himself to get into these situations? Is his physical constitution such that there is not much he can do about it? Or is it that he just can’t be bothered?

Whatever it is, one way or another, he’s terrific to watch.

jane Says:

I’ve taped the days proceedings so I hope TSN showed that match; it sounds like some fun drama.

jane Says:

I see Step had a hiccup while I was teaching but came through nonetheless.

Hewitt vs. Ferrer will be an fun match to watch, I’d think, and possibly Roger vs. Ancic too.

zola Says:

***Zola should be happy with Nalby’s unexpected exit. ***

You bet!. :)

***federer has to be the luckiest boy alive he was saved by yet another rain delay.***

seems like Higueras gave some good advice to Fed! I think Montanes got demoralized by the break and went down from there.

I have yet to watch Gulbis. Maybe tomorrow. Him, Cilic and supermario are my favorite young guns besides Rafa ( or After RAfa I shall say). Monfils was there too, but he just manages to injur himself so much that he is not a regular anymore ( although he is still alive here). Ah…I added Bellucci to the list yesterday as well!

A funny comparison. They asked RAfa about the conditions, he obviously doesn’t like it and ernestly said that he prefers sunny and dry weather because the bounce is almost twice. They asked the same question to Fed, and he said he likes this condition better but did not give a reason. He said he did not think that the balls are heavier!and did not say anything about the added troble of “bounce” in sunny days.

If Rafa and Fed meet here, I hope the weather is sunny and its a hot hot day!
Although the way the tennis Godz treated my last wishes, maybe I should not ask for anything!

zola Says:

Hewitt-Ferrer should be really exciting. If the hip doesn’t bother Hewitt, it can be the best match of the tournamnet so far ( i hope so).

I rather a 100% Hewitt-Fed match to a Ferrer-Fed match. Hewitt has more firepower!

grendel Says:

” think Montanes got demoralized by the break and went down from there.” Zola, Montanes came back from the break and won the bloody set! I agree with you, though, Federer is less than candid about his preferences. ‘Bout time he got a break, though, don’t you think, when it comes to the weather? Over last few years, it’s always favoured Rafa. Still may, of course. Long, long time till end of next week.

zola Says:

I did not mean the rain delay! I meant the break to his serve in the beginning of the second set!

oh nooooooooooooo!

I want 500 degrees and a dry weather, possibly a bit windy on the final!

Well, HAmburg weather and field obviously favored Fed, but still Rafa was able to win. So, we will see. but I still want 500 degrees. Next year Rafa should withdraw from French Open and rest for Wimbledon. Then the weather can be as rainy and soggy as possible!

grendel Says:

Sorry to misunderstand you, Zola. But why mention the rain delay? It didn’t help Federer. Federer was just a different player second set on. That’s sufficient to explain the turn of events. If Montanes was demoralised – and in the opinion of Wilander, he wasn’t playing any different, Federer was – then it was due to Fed’s play, which was dramatically raised. He has been known to do this, you know, though not much this year, one must admit.

I don’t think Fed can rely on the weather. Even if the weather is appalling, Nadal remains the deserved favourite. Cool weather at RG will obviously be beneficial to him, that’s all. If he’s in the final. That’s not remotely a given.

I’m surprised you want Nadal to withdraw next year – you’re having a private joke? Surely you’d like to see Nadal not just equal Borg’s record, but break it? Hard to see that he won’t.

PJ Says:

With Ferrer, I didn’t see the match, but it’s impressive. However, we saw how only losing one game worked for Berdych. He went out in the next round, though I expect Ferrer to fair much better.

Nadal just seems to be a slow starter at times. He lost the first set to Djokovic and then was getting crushed by Federer in the first set of the final in Hamburg. The same occurred in his first two matches (didn’t lose or wasn’t getting crushed, but didn’t find his game right away). The commentators even made a point that Nadal seems to let people think they are sticking with him, then he just turns his game up.

During the end of the Fed/Montanes match, they said that Montanes’ entire body language changed the middle two sets. He just looked bad, almost as if him winning the first set was a fluke. A lot of what helps to players is that many of their opponents probably don’t have the belief that they can hang for 5 sets if necessary (I think this is especially true for Nadal on clay).

andrea Says:

both roger and nadal are often slow starters in their matches – nadal in particular. anyone can give these guys a run for their money in the first set…best of 5, i doubt the rest of the field comes close to maintaining their form and focus.

if both of these guys make it to the final, i hope for once we can see a five setter between them at roland garros. wimbledon last year was a classic. they are my two favorite players to watch against each other since they are stylistically and appearance-wise so opposite.

TD (Tam) Says:

Hi everybody!

Well Blake was a huge disappointment today wasn’t he? It’s the same old same old with him, when he gets frustrated and can’t find any answers his only response it to hit harder and that just won’t do on the clay. He needs to find his brain!

The good news is Ginepri pulling off the upset of the day beating Andreev (I did not see that match unfortunately) and I hope Odesnik will pull off something special for his match with Djkovic tomorrow.

Business as usual for Federer and Nadal nothing more to say about their matches {suppresses a yawn} ;)

jane I am looking forward to Hewitt-Ferrer as well it will be fun to see who can outgrind the other.

Okay time to take a poll: who’s rooting for Federer and who’s rooting for Nadal to win RG? Anyone for Djokovic or somebody completely different?

jane Says:

Hi TD,

I am not sure if I can see Odesnik taking out Djokovic, but anything is possible. Somehow I think if Djoko is to meet Gulbis, that might be an upset – he played well against Blake, from what I saw (TSN skipped over 2 middle sets).

Ginepri’s win is something else; I’d've never thunk it. But he sure came out of the woodwork to k/o Andreev, an accomplished clay-courter. Of course he shares Fed’s coach – I wonder what that means?

Von Says:


I didn’t comment on Blake — the disappointment/anger is still too fresh. He bugs the heck out of me. I can’t understand his mentality. He’s down 2 sets, just got broken and is losing. What does he do, instead of playing with some patience and restraint, he continues to rip away. I think Patrick Mcenroe needs to seriously think about using Ginepri in Davis Cup against Spain. Maybe Odesnik also should be given a nod. However, we all know who has to win the first live rubber, and/or the 4th don’t we, when Blake screws up big time?

I picked Ginepri on the the “Djoko/Fed Chase Nadal” thread to get to the QFs. Ginepri has been playing some good ball for most of this year. He was very good in Del Ray, Memphis and Vegas. Unfortunately, for him Higueras is into bigger and better things. Money/fame talks — Higueras walks!

jane Says:


“Money/fame talks — Higueras walks!”

Oh I didn’t know this; I had thought Higueras was still working with Ginepri. It even crossed my mind that if Ginepri continues to do well he and Fed could collide, and then what happens to the team coaching?!!

I also didn’t know Ginepri was playing well this year, as I didn’t see any of those tournaments that you mentioned.

I felt bad for Blake, but when he got broken in the 4th set, to allow Gulbis to serve for the match, that was his own mistake. He overhit that forehand – majorly!! He definitely should’ve played with more patience but that’s never been his way. Alas.

Diane Says:

Nalbandian…I want to just shake him.

Von Says:


“He definitely should’ve played with more patience but that’s never been his way. Alas.”

Out to lunch.

Von Says:

“Nalbandian…I want to just shake him.”

Another one, that’s out to lunch. Would a baseball bat help? I’d like to use it myself.

jane Says:

Murray vs. Almagro might be good; it depends on whether Murray can bring his A game.

I didn’t realize Rafa has to play again tomorrow… I assume that’ll catch him up and he’ll get a break.

jane Says:

Out of all the losses today, I am most disappointed with Safin’s loss. I thought he played that 1st set so well, and he had those couple of set points, but made errors on them. And once Davy got the lead in the breaker and took the first set, I just thought now Safin will wilt.

I really, really want to see him win another big match on a big stage and maybe go with the momentum a ways. I enjoyed when he and Roddick played at the AO in 07, in the quarters maybe? or round of 16. He played a great third set against Roger at Wimbledon last year,too.

He’s an exciting player to watch, and that was a great first set today. I feel like saying alas again, but I won’t. Not just yet.

zola Says:

I know Fed can come back. He did in MC against Hidalgo. Montanes is a good player but the early break of serve in the second set just crushed him. I didn’t see the match. I assme he was using something against Fed and that thing did not work from the second set on and that was it. He managed to win a few games in the fourth but was too late.

Yeah, I am a bad Rafa fan. If he wins this year, he can start breaking Borga and Fed’s records in Wimbledon!

Rafa has not had a day to rest since Tuesday. It is brutal. I will not complain if Fed and Djoko go through the same thing too!

angel Says:

Zola come on I know you are a die hard Nadal fan but he breaking Federer’s record at Wimbledon with Djokovic, Murray and Gasquet getting better… I think Nadal will be lucky enought if he wins a couple of those trophys.

Von Says:


“Out of all the losses today, I am most disappointed with Safin’s loss.”

I’m still trying to process Safin’s loss. I never really liked Davydenko, and now I dislike him even more. Safin is/was a better player than Davydenko. In his day, Davydenko could not hold a candle to him. Times have changed.

zola Says:

Djoko, Murray and Gasquet threats in Wimbledon!

on paper, yes, in reality, we have to see. headcaseness can sometimes be a problem!

personally I would love to see Murray win Wimbledon.

TD (Tam) Says:

I read somewhere that Ginepri shares Higueras’ coaching with Federer.

Agreed on Safin disappointing again. sigh, will he ever find his former grand slam glory?

jane Says:

Rafa looked impervious today. He’s all business: get it done, get off court, get some rest. Good for him. He deserves it.

I see Almagro is now up a break in the 4th, so he’ll likely k/o Murray. TSN is showing the ladies at the moment, and much as I like Radwanska, I wish I could be watching Almagro/Murray.

zola Says:

can you watch the tennis channel streaming?
Murray-Almagro is on court 7.

or go to They show 5 courts live as well.

Yes, Rafa was great today. I had a scare when the shoe came off again! but apparently it did not affect his game!

jane Says:

Thanks for the links Zola; I’ll check them out. I’d like to watch Djoko’s match (he’s already struggling a bit against Odesnik – 3 breaks exchanged) but TSN is showing Mathieu’s match at the moment.

Too bad for Murray; he fought all the way back to even the 4th and then promptly got broken. Almagro was the favorite though. And I see Verdasco came back to take the 3rd and is now up a break in the 4th. I like Verdasco…

jane Says:

Lots of breaks in this Odesnik / Djoko match so far.

Zola, I can’t get the Tennis channel; after registering they said something about me not being able to receive it, probably because I am in Canada.

I also couldn’t get any video at the Eurosport site.

BUT, all that said, TSN has finally cut to the Djoko match now, so I can watch live instead of staring at the dumb scoreboard. Odesnik is playing well, putting up an excellent fight.

zola Says:

also check these links later;

it usually has links to the tennis channel ( the TV one) and the ESPN one. but ususlly doesn’t have the smaller courts.

and this one is good too.
press on sports. there you have to brwose through channels and see which one shows FO. The quality is usully good.

Yeah, Odesnik plays with lots of confidence. I like that.

Shital Green Says:

Odesnik is playing superb tennis. Left handed, he serves big, positions in no time, has very good court coverage, can quickly switch from defensive to offensive position, and can change direction. I like this guy. He is showing a lot of signs to be a good clay courter in the future.
The 1st set was a hard-fought win for Djoko. Despite being able to break 3 times in the 1st set (got broken himself twice), Djoko has not found his way around Odesnik yet, still unsure which way the match would go at the end.

zola Says:

***I really, really want to see him win another big match on a big stage and maybe go with the momentum a ways. I enjoyed when he and Roddick played at the AO in 07, in the quarters maybe? or round of 16. He played a great third set against Roger at Wimbledon last year,too.***

same here. He needs something to boost his confidence after all those injuries and exits, etc. It is huge that he still fights.I hope he gets the results soon.

Murray is one angry young man. He is so good at wasting his energy for nothing. What a pitty. All that talent can go to waste just because he cannot manage his temper.Advise to Murray: Don’t talk to Safin.

zola Says:

you wrote about Federer’s forehand errors. I read somewhere that he is putting more “whip” on his forehand ( perhaps thinking of the final?). so maybe he is trying something new. Otherwise it is very uncharacteristic for Fed to have forehand errors. Even for e Fed with mono!

jane Says:

Shital – I agree re: Odesnik, a good claycourter, very good focus and attitude.

jane Says:


“Advise to Murray: Don’t talk to Safin.” Funny – yes, that could be his downfall.

Djoko’s attitude / focus could be better today; he needn’t feel too badly when he mishits but seems to let it get to him. He also should not talk to Safin!

All those guys – Safin, Murray, Djoko – have perfectionist streaks; they need to look at Rafa and Fed who also have those tendencies, but are able to shake it off when their not playing well – at least usually. Sometimes there is nothing you can do if your opponent is playing well.

Djoko’s serve needs to be more consistent as well. His return is fine. And some great drop shots today.

grendel Says:

” Montanes is a good player but the early break of serve in the second set just crushed him. I didn’t see the match. I assme he was using something against Fed and that thing did not work from the second set on”. I did see the match. As Wilander remarked, Montanes did nothing different. Federer just raised his game. That is all the explanation that is necessary. There is nothing unusual in that – you see this sort of thing time and again with the best players.

jane Says:

Mathieu vs/ Schwank match was excellent tennis!! Don’t know how many match points Schwank fought off, but he just went for it – very risky droppers and cross-court forehands right on the edge of the lines. Fun stuff.

Mathieu is the most settled, consistent of the French players, imo.

angel Says:

I really believe that if Djoko plays a great match can beat Nadal (some people say Rafa is not 100% recover from his foot injury, don’t know) but the problem is that if this happens probably he won’t have any gasoline left in the tank to face Federer(I don’t see anybody beating Roger until the final), so MAYBE this could really be Federer’s chance…but on clay Nadal is allways the favorite so we’ll have to see.

zola Says:

***All those guys – Safin, Murray, Djoko – have perfectionist streaks; they need to look at Rafa and Fed who also have those tendencies, but are able to shake it off when their not playing well ***

it is so true. Rafa lost his 81 win streak to Fed with a bagel! Worse than that I think was losing to Fed in the WWimbledon final. Or Fed losing twice in FO final, or in AO semis after 4 yeas…. they both have a great ability to stay positive and that saves them lots of energy, not to mentione “respect” from fans.

***I really believe that if Djoko plays a great match can beat Nadal (some people say Rafa is not 100% recover from his foot injury, don’t know) but the problem is that if this happens probably he won’t have any gasoline left in the tank to face Federer***

In theory eveyone can beat Rafa if they play the match of their life and Rafa is not 100%. The problem is to implement it.
About the second part, let’s see if Djoko can win RAfa and then he can think about the gas!

Daniel Says:


I saw the match too, and as a commentor said, he was so relaxed that he started playing by instinct, and we all know what happens when Fed get’s into that zone..!

Top story: Rafael Nadal: I Am Not The Favorite To Finish The Year No. 1
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2 Rafael Nadal2 Na Li
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