Rafael Nadal Rolls On in Cincinnati While Federer, Djokovic Struggle
by Sean Randall | July 31st, 2008, 10:39 am
  • 89 Comments

After one round of play, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Roddick continue to have their struggles while Rafael Nadal looks better than ever at Cincinnati. I thought things would reverse this week with Rafa taking a pause and the other three stepping up but early results don’t give that scenario much hope.

Federer really needs to be careful. Eventually, these escape jobs he’s been pulling early in tournaments like the one he did Tuesday against Robby Ginepri or in his comeback against Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo at Monte Carlo are going to get the better of him. They are going to catch up and he’s going to get clipped early in a real bad way. If he’s trying to hand Nadal the No. 1 ranking on a silver platter he’s doing a good job of it.

Ginepri, for his part, serving for the match at 6-5 in the second set has to close that out. But he choked it and to his credit he admitted that much. The nerves, the situation, the pressure, the heat and of course Federer all built up causing him to basically shut down, and Roger gets through. Against a better player Federer’s not going to be as fortunate. But maybe like the Hidalgo match this will serve as some sort of a wake up call, a springboard for Federer going forward because right now he needs one. We’ll see.

Today he should be able to scrape a couple tiebreaks over Ivo Karlovic and survive, but against guys like Kohlschrieber or Soderling who will be waiting in the next round he’s going to need to play better tennis.

Federer wasn’t the only top dog who was unimpressive in his opener, so too was Novak Djokovic who needed two tiebreaks on a fast court to beat Simone Bolleli. The Serb was broken twice by Bolleli who was 2 of 12 of break chances. Djokovic gets another Italian today, Andreas Seppi, in what should be comfortable affair but the way things are going, unless you are Rafa Nadal nothing is coming easy this summer.

Nadal is really having his way with everyone of late, especially after a 6-0, 6-1 destruction over Florent Serra last night. Nadal ups his streak to 30 straight and into the third round where tonight he’s in for what I think will be a tough clash against Tommy Haas. The German has never gotten a set from Nadal in two tries but as the clear-cut underdog here I think Tommy will be relaxed enough to play some good tennis and he might surprise. We all know he’s got the game he just needs to work it out between the ears. It’s a longshot…

The good news for Andy Roddick is that the neck/shoulder/back pain he woke up with that forced him to withdraw from his match against Phil Kohlschreiber was unrelated to the back/shoulder injury that kept him out of the French Open. The bad news is that he’s walking away with very little match play and points from the two summer ATP Masters Series events. Roddick, who turns 26 in a month, will get about a week off to recoup before his second rounder in LA.

Also today we’ll see two pretty good matches with James Blake v. Ernests Gulbis and Andy Murray v. Dmitry Tursunov. Blake will try to get revenge on the Latvian who beat him at the French Open. I give Blake the slight edge here in the heat and in the U.S., but Gulbis certainly has the game to do it.

Murray’s never lost to Turusnov having beaten the Russian on all four surfaces and I think the Scot gets through again.

To watch live streaming from Cincinnati online, click below:


Also Check Out:
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Five-Time Cincinnati Champ Roger Federer Says He’s Fit, Motivated And Has A Good Mind-Set
Roddick Bounced; Remaining Favs Federer, Murray, Nadal in Cincinnati Action Today
Jankovic Remembers Former No. 1 Days, Beating Safina for Cincinnati Title
Djokovic, Federer Struggle, Azarenka Rolls at Indian Wells; Thursday Preview

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89 Comments for Rafael Nadal Rolls On in Cincinnati While Federer, Djokovic Struggle

Tennisnakama Says:

Nadal said yesterday at the press conference,
“If I continue like this I going to have a lot of chances for be No. 1? If not, I don’t want to be No. 1 because my opponents are very good.”
It’s an interesting statement. He only wants a legitimate No. 1 title including ATP Ranking, ATP Race, Olympic and US Open. He does not want to be No.1 just by a statistic calculation. He wants to show real beef. What a confidence! I’m afraid he will hold not only No. 1 title but also No.1 confidence and attitude.


jane Says:

“I’m afraid he will hold not only No. 1 title but also No.1 confidence and attitude.”

Can’t see why this would make anyone “afraid” – seems like a good thing, to have a confident #1 with a good attitude.


zola Says:

Sean,
great post again.
One thing about Rafa-Serra match, is that the outcome was not a surprise. For some reason his game does not match Rafa’s at all. So, a nice short match but as Rafa said himself, it did not give him anything to build on as well. Tonight’s match with Haas though, should be a tough one. I hope Rafa can win tonight.

Both Fed and Djoko exited Toronto prematurely, so to me it is important just to get over the early rounds. They will get better each round. Agree that Ginepri chocked big time. But again credit to Fed for fighting to take the match back.

So glad that Roddick’s shoulder injury is nothing major. But the lack of match play is not good for his US Open and his rankings. On the other hand, he will be fresh at US Open when all the guys come back from Beijing. So, we have to see.

Seems Gulbis is a break up against Blake. I like this kid.


Shital Green Says:

Sean,
Ref: “unless you are Rafa Nadal nothing is coming easy this summer.”

Let me expand on this. Rafa will continue making everyone look like they are struggling, not working hard enough, not fighting for every point,not having enough passion and spirit for tennis, etc. On the one hand, he is way ahead of the pack and his setting the bar too high may resemble Fed of his good ol’ days. On the other, he is the opposite of Federer. Fed would make look like everything “easy.” It was all about economy and smart playing. Rafa reverses Fed era dictum. With the beginning of Rafa era, it is all about investment, expenditure, durability, and urgency, expediency.


andrea Says:

i can’t believe the nadal match was 46 minutes. that’s plain nuts. and boo to sharapova for pulling out after beating marta – she should have just retired. 17 df’s is ridiculous. even for her.

i agree that fed barely escaped – a top 20 guy would have likely closed out the second set. let’s hope he shakes off some rust to get in the groove. but he showed some roddick-like humour in his post match conference re: happy to be on a one match winning streak. actually kind of refreshing for him to have that kind of humour for a change.


Pat Usher Says:

I’m no Rafa fan, but the guy’s playing unbelievable tennis, no? (Lol). No, seriosly… hes been impressive. I always thought his body couldnt hold up, but he doesnt seem to be stopping! I hope Tommy Haas can play his game and not be intimidated by Rafa’s macho attitude.
Roger on the other hand doesnt seem to be the man he was a year ago. His confidence has dipped below zero!!! I seriously thought he’d lost that match v Ginepri. i hope he’ll take the lifeline he’s been given and play some great tennis.
For Roger’s fans listening to his interviews and how cool n calm he sounds abt everything is soo decieving! He DOES feel the pressure, and he HAS lost his confidence!
In as much as i dont want him to lose his no.1 ranking, maybe that’s wat he needs to shake him up a bit then hopefully next year, he can start the year more focused.


SG Says:

If being No.1 was only to be judged on attitude, Nadal would have the No.1 ranking since ’05 in Rome.


Stu Says:

Federer’s early round escape jobs have already hurt him. When he lost his first match in Toronto against Simon.

Against Robby he had an insane amount of break chances and games where he was up 0-30 with RG serving. Playing well on a lot of points but not on the big points. Ivo is tough to play against when he’s serving well but if Fed can get some serves back in play he’ll just hit low slices all match and do fine.

I think Haas and Nadal should be a good one. Tommy isn’t the player he used to be but he’s still pretty solid and has a well rounded game. Sort of depends on what his gameplan is. A lot of people try and hit clean winners against Nadal to mess up his rythm. It’s an okay idea but you’re basically resigning yourself to hitting outside of your comfort zone all match. Nadal doesn’t have the same penetrating shots on hard court as he does on grass and you can mix up your shots and spins to keep him off balance without needing to go for a winner every shot. When Murray played him in Toronto the points he actually did well on were ones where he setup the point and waited for a short ball. Almost everyone has abandoned that gameplan against Nadal but on hardcourt I think it’s still the best chance to win against him. With the faster court in Cincy Haas should play agressive but not shoot for lines but use a flatter ball towards the corners to push Nadal back until he hits a short one.


Andrew Miller Says:

Guess that settles that. Nadal is looking like the U.S. Open favorite with t minus 2 tournaments to go. Its Cincy and then the Olympics and then it’s US Open time. I think Nadal is looking like a potential winner for two of the three – it doesnt matter whether he wins the Olympics or Cincy, on of them will give him the super-boost to take the Open and New York.

His contenders are not contending, and it looks like his Aussie Open slayer Tsonga is out, so no jinx there. Unbelievably – Nadal, US OPEN champ could definitely happen, vs. “not happenning, not now not ever if he cant make it past a QF.” The way Nadal is playing, he’s making the finals.

Roddick’s fate is looking less secure – actually to me it looks bad and Mr. Randall’s commentary is pinpoint here. He avoids the Olympics to focus his chances on the US Open – strategic gamble – loading up his hardcourt season with Montreal, Cincinatti, L.A. and Legg Mason in DC. He botched the Montreal tourny, is injusred for the 2nd big masters in Cincy, and now has only L.A. and D.C.’s Legg Mason tourny – two lesser events with next to no competition.

If his shoulder is above par for those tournaments, he should win both of them and go to the Open with “o.k” but not big-time momentum. if he loses in either tournament before the finals, I predict (horrible thing to do in tennis) that Roddick is going out early at the U.S. Open. His game just isnt there – this is not earlier in the year when he had big runs in Dubai and was a new man up until the semis in Miami (which he should have won – no shame losing to Davydenko but Roddick should’ve pounded him and then showed no mercy towards Nadal. But it is what it is – Davydenko won that match outright.)


Shital Green Says:

About the last matches Fed and Djoko played with their respective opponents, they struggled in two different areas. Fed struggled in most areas except serve; Djoko struggled mainly in getting his serve in. Fed did not admit that; Djoko immediately did, in the post-match interview.

On a different note, Blake just lost. Too bad for Blake: he will drop in his ranking. Gulbis the kid marches.


Pat Usher Says:

I dont think nadal can win the US open. I dunno if it’s more out of hope than belief! But, seriously, a lot depends on his draw. If he gets a cup cake draw like he did at wimbledon,and last week in Montreal, then he has a shot at making it deep in the tournament. But, i stil dont see him winning it.
If we’re basing his invincibility on hardcourts on his performance last night against Serra.. Come one people! WTH is Serra?? He’s lost more matches than he’s won! He beat benjamin becker in R1. WTH is this BB guy?! He was never going to be competition to the top guys. So, please… let’s chill on the praise!


Sean Randall Says:

Pat, “cup cake” draws at Wimbledon and Toronto? Who do you want him to beat? Who is a worthy opponent?


Shital Green Says:

pat Usher,

If not Nadal, who will? Can you elaborate on this? Until somebody proves that he can beat Nadal, I will not doubt his chances on any surface.


Shital Green Says:

Djoko gets broken in the 1st game. What am I seeing?


zola Says:

Seppi choked on his service game. giving the break back to Djoko. None of them is serving well today.


zola Says:

I heart Gulbis!


Shital Green Says:

Right away, Djoko breaks Seppi twice in a row. Seppi is not much of a player, so even the struggling Djoko should not have much problem getting past him.


jane Says:

Yeah, Pat; I’d agree with Sean and Shital – if Nadal’s draw at Wimbledon was a cupcake draw, I’d hate to see at difficult one! And in Toronto he beat Gasquet and Murray, both top ten material, to get to the final. Sheesh! What more do you want from Rafa.


jane Says:

Shital – After Novak got broke first game, I thought, oh no, here we go again. But he’s righted himself and is up 5-1 and serving for the set.

Khols and Soderling are duking it out, about which Fed will be happy, and Moya seems to have Davy’s number. Moya always seems to do well at this time of year, at Cincy and the USO. We should enjoy watching him while we can…


Shital Green Says:

Jane, this match is becoming too easy for Djoko by minute. Not much excitement to watch if the opponent is no challenge.
But the quarter final against Gulbis would certainly be another thrilling match ! Gulbis has a chance here unless Djoko improves on his serve overnight.


Von Says:

Shital:

Have no fear, I think Djoko has this one in the bag. First set 6-1, now 0-3, Djoko. Seppi has a shoulder problem and is receiving treatment. This match should be over in two winks. Djoko is in control. :)


zola Says:

Jane,

seems your boy righted the ship. This might finish faster than Rafa-Serra match!


Shital Green Says:

I am just curiously waiting for Fed-Karlovic match to begin.


Vulcan Says:

File the cupcake draw comment under assinine.


Vulcan Says:

Wait, correction, make that the assinine subcategory under the troll category


Andrew Miller Says:

Rafa Nadal – he could do it at this year’s U.S. Open.

I want to believe that his competition is up to the task, but only Djokovic and Federer, and only at Wimbledon, have shown the ability to do what Nadal does to them : stick with him to the bitter end. I thought Djokovic had his chances in matches at Hamburg and Stella Artois, and actually felt he was closer to winning in Hamburg, though the Stella Artois scoreline is nothing to be ashamed of.

However, those matches and the early exit at Wimbledon seem to have taken a mental toll on the Serbian champ, whereas Nadal has snatched victory from the whiff of defeat every single outing since Hamburg. In the tale of two players, Nadal has Djokovic’ number at present, so if they square off in NY, I would have to go with Nadal.

Nadal also has Federer’s number. He more often than not has Roddick’s number, and the U.S. Open’s relatively slower court than Cincinatti, boosts his chance against any player with an enormous serve (and no, Isner will not bounce Nadal from any tournament this year, and you can through Dr. Ivo in there as well).

So who has Nadal’s number?

But his opponents clearly do not – not now. Nadal’s biggest threat is the X factor: nerves and a confident player, like a Gulbis, who seems to enjoy the new-ness of his big game. Because Gulbis is a long shot, that probably wont happen. Gasquet? The guy has fitness issues. Baghdatis: not this year, maybe the end of 2009. Blake? Sorry, it’s neither 2005 nor 2006, so the Blake dominance over Nadal is now nothing more than encyclopedia fact. Federer? Doesnt really seem to believe he can take out the #2. Djokovic: diddo on that, he gives in a little too early, however microscopically. Fernando Gonzalez? Just way too inconsistent, same soup, just reheated.

Only his girlfriend Xisca and Uncle Tony, and maybe not even Xisca has the home tel digits. So unless Nadal sustains a knee injury or acute food poisoning or a taxi cab kidnapping and finds himself down for the count, or something crazy happens that happens in tennis,

the US Open trophy is calling and Nadal seems to be ready to answer.


jane Says:

Yep – Djoko did right the ship and the match was over in less than an hour.

But Shital, you’re right that he still needs to serve better; he ends with 56% first serves in. Still not close to where he needs to be against tougher competition. He was ALL OVER Seppi’s second serves, though; Djoko is one of the best returners in the game right now imo.


Von Says:

jane & Shital:

Your guy did it!! He was smiling from ear to ear. Karlovic v. Fed is about to begin.


Sean Randall Says:

Regarding Nadal at the US Open, just look at how many sets he’s lost in Slam play this year and to how many different players. Pretty astonishing really.


zola Says:

Andrew Miller,
I love reading your speculations about RAfa, but let’s wait and see. Tennis can be unpredictable. Rafa had a good run in Chennai last year and then suddenly lost to Malisse. He was doing great in AO this year and then lost to Tsonga. Reached the final of Miami and lost to Davydenko. Played unbelievable against fed in wimbledon 07 and still lost to Fed.

So, I want to take this one match at a time. If Rafa can do all that you say, I will be the happiest person on the earth. If not, he still has had a great year so far.


Sar Says:

Jane and Shital
Well, our guy did it. Whew!


JoshDragon Says:

Rafa, should win his match against Haas. They played in Cincinnati two years ago in their first meeting. Nadal, won 7-6, 6-3. Tommy is a good player but Nadal’s level of play has been too high for him to really have much of a chance. Nadal will have to lose this one for Hass to make the quarters.

You’re probably right on the Federer/Karlovic match though. Federer, will most likely squeak past Karlovic in two or tie-breaks.


Shital Green Says:

Federer lost the 1st set in the tight tie break. But he is playing a lot better than in the last match. I think he should be able to pull this thing off if he wins the 2nd set. He’s gotta find a way to break Karlovic at least once in each.


Von Says:

Shital:

What’s happening with you?. I was happy for you about Djoko’s win and thought you’d be elated he won, instead of answering my comment about how well he did, you’re talking about Fed’s match. Speak up will ya, and let me hear the joy in your heart. :)

___________
Sar:

You sound relieved. I’m happy for you that Djoko won. :)


Shital Green Says:

Von, Sar, Jane,
I was not too excited because Seppi was not much of a challenge. I am modestly happy Djoko got through. If he wins the next round, I will go euphoric a little bit, and if it happens, in the round after that, bigger jubilation, and round after that, the biggest delectation, so I am conserving elation for an auspicious moment. I will wait till then.
Thanks for poking me.


Von Says:

Shital:

You’re conserving your energy? I didn’t know you were playing in the Cincy heat? I’m being facetious, but I know what you mean. You don’t want to get on a high and then have a let down. I think Djoko will do better now that he has a couple of wins under his belt and then I won’t have to poke you because you’ll be electrified enough.

Federer won the second set by breaking. Karlovic is feeling the Cincy heat.


Von Says:

Shital: I made such a bo boo, I misread “elation” for “energy”. Disregard my comment about the Cincy heat. Anyway, some elation won’t hurt.


Shital Green Says:

Jane,
Ref: “he ends with 56% first serves in.”
I am not unhappy about the way Djoko has been playing. My main concern is Djoko’s serve. Keep also in mind that he won 83% 1st serve points out of 56%, which reduces his percentage to 46.5. This has been the pattern since the 1st match at Toronto. This is not going to help him against Gulbis and other tougher players. He better be practicing serve this evening to raise it to at least 70% first serve in.


Pat Usher Says:

Vulcan please… wen i posted, i wasn’t looking for personal attacks! I was simply giving my view. Fine, maybe cupcake for Rafas draws is not the right word, esp not in wimbledon coz i’ve just revisted the draw and see he played gulbis, Murray, etc. So, PARDON ME! (Although i think stepanek could have given a good match).It’s just that, IN MY OPINION, the guys on Rafa’s draws who i felt had a better chance of giving a good match were taken out by lesser opponents who were in turn thrashed.
I’m not taking anything away from Nadal. I’ll be the 1st to admit he’s playing well. But, like i said sometimes i feel the draws opened up for him. Like him playing Keifer in the final last Sunday… I could have put my last penny on Nadal winning that match without breaking sweat!


Daniel Says:

S…t! Karlovic already made 2 aces in the third set tiebreak. I hope he feels the pressure eventually and stop this killer services.


jane Says:

On July 29th, previous thread, I posted this:

“I am also not sure that Fed gets through. Someone like Dr. Ivo could be dangerous now. Look how close he played Rafa on grass, and Cincy courts are fast. Maybe he’s no threat; Roger’s never been beaten by him, but in best of 3 that’s his best chance. ”

I thought this was Dr. Ivo’s best chance, and I guess I was right.

But Roger played well; it’s just that Dr. Ivo has gotten better. He’s rounded out his game so he is no longer just a serve, and that was evident at Queen’s.

Although, clearly, his game is still about that serve, 22 aces later!


Daniel Says:

Yes, the change has come!

In old days Fed would won tie breaks against Karlovic. Now he loses a match in three sets where he wasn’t break. Go figure!


Singh-is-King Says:

Karlovic derails the Fed-Ex!!!!


Shital Green Says:

It is sad to see Fed lose.
This makes Rafa’s job easier to climb to the No. 1. 100% certainty ensured for Rafa.


jane Says:

Daniel -

It’s not just Fed; yep, you’re probably right he would’ve won those tiebreaks in the past. But Karlovic has improved. So it’s probably a combination of Fed’s confidence struggles of late, and Dr. Ivo’s improved game.

Sorry your guy lost – I know you’re a loyal Roger fan, and a really nice one too. Keep up the hope!


Vulcan Says:

PU, you can take your personal attacks and stick em you know where…you should know that that is precisely what trolls like to say to garnish attention. I have little or nothing else to say to you.


andrea Says:

oh my! that is truly depressing for roger. he never liked playing karlovic.


Pat Usher Says:

Tooo bad for Roger! It was bound to happen sooner or later coz tooo many of their matches were too close in the past n u kinda felt sorry for Karlovic coz it was just too close. Always tie breaks involved and just a few points between them.


Vulcan Says:

About Federer losing to Karlovic…It was a tight match…as usual…nothing surprising…Federer has only ever squeeked by him in the past so this is not expected.


Vulcan Says:

errr unexpected that is


Pat Usher Says:

Vulcan, watever!!!!! How are my posts different to any1 else’s??? I’m not calling no one names. If anything, u’re the name caller! Too rude, vulgar and CLASSLESS. I shall not be reduced to yr level! And like u, i’ll simply ignore u.


Mary Says:

Lame by Fed. I’m happy to hear that he will be taking time to play another expo this Fall.

So, Rafa has to win to take no. 1 before Beijing? I hope Andy Murray takes the whole thing.


Oleg Says:

Now that Federer has lost against Karlovic, what does it take for Nadal to be #1?
does he need to win this tournament?


Mary Says:

The worst part is listening to Brad Gilbert.


Mary Says:

Oleg: Nada needs to win the tourny.


matt Says:

OMG, Karlovic beats Federer!!!

Well, strangely enough I would say Federer played better than the Ginepri match, but Karlovic played better than I expected.

Federer-Karlovic matches always have been tight, full of tie-breaks.

But now there is a new factor in: players now BELIEVE they can beat Federer and THAT is a huge change.

I would say as well that I don’t feel as bad as I felt last week, because somehow now I know he is not having a good time.

Last week (before Toronto started) I was sure Federer would win or at least get to the final (in both MS), because he played really well in Wimbledon.

But now is different. I see he has lost his confidence and the rest of the field know it and don’t fear him anymore.


Daniel Says:

Jane,

I didn’t saw the match, only the scores, but I imagine Karlovic got better because in both tiebreaks Fed didn’t won a point when Ivo was serving, not even second serves.

What is sad is with Fed loosing earlier we won’t see a Fed-Nadal final in hard. Before Nadal couldn’t make finals, now is Federer.

That Wimbledon final really hurt Fed. A turning point in his career…

P.S.: All my math went down! :)


Vulcan Says:

Bring on the math gurus for the analysis…wheres Gordo?


Colin Says:

Federer must be wondering when he’ll wake up from the bad dream he’s in!
Credit to Karlovic for not losing heart after Fed got the second set.
How does this result affect the tournament, I wonder. Although Ivo is the man nobody wants to play, and remains dangerous, the fact is he loses to many players who are less than world class.


Vulcan Says:

Colin, the reason he loses so much is because he has absolutely nothing besides a big serve…the best way to play him is stand 90 feet behind the baseline and just get the ball back into play.
Federer im sure just refuses to play that way.
I wouldnt read to much into this loss…Ill start to get concerned about Federer if he does poorly at the Olympics and US Open.


Daniel Says:

New math:

Nadal will be n. 1 next week (August 4th) if he wins it. If not, he must made at least final to be n. 1 on August 11th.

He is secure number one on August 18th as long as he makes semis here, even with him not playing Olympics and Fed wins it.

If he lost today, he will need to make quarters in Beijing to be n. 1 on August 18th no matter whta Fed does.

Which means todays match can almost assure n. 1 for Rafa.


Stu Says:

Wow. Quite the 3rd set. Federer only lost 2 points on his serve including the one in the tiebreak that cost him. That’s a touch way to go down. I think Ivo had 3 2nd serves in the tiebreak and Federer didn’t take advantage on any of them. The difference between how he’s playing now and how he was last year is that last year he would have come through with big shots on at least a couple of those chances. Right now he’s playing fine but not elevating his game when the pressure is on like he used to. He used to break in the 9th or 10th game all the time in tight matches by coming up with big shots but isn’t doing that right now. I don’t remember the last time he dropped 2 tiebreaks in the same match and didn’t take a single point off the other guy’s serve in either.


Vulcan Says:

The main question at this point would seem to be:
If Nadal becomes number 1…how will Federer react? Would he then be able to hold off Djokovic or would he slide down further (as Roddick did when Federer usurped the No. 1 ranking from him)…ive always asserted that when Roddick lost the number 1 ranking to Federer…it was a crushing blow to his confidence that he still, and probably never, will recover from.


Andrew Miller Says:

Zola I agree with you, one match at a time. Federer seems to be thinking about finals before he gets there, and because he’s thinking about it before he gets there,

he’s out before he gets there

Federer’s concentration on the ball used to be so focused and so intense that it unnerved people like me who look at the tennis photos! It was similar to Agassi’s gaze at the tennis ball: supreme focus.

Nadal seems to now have that focus, and as you say b/c it’s one match at a time, it builds up to a mountain.


Von Says:

Last evening I posted to the effect that Dr. Ivo could take out Fed if Fed played the same way as he played against Ginepri. However, Fed played better today, but the difference was Karlovic’s improved game. He made some very crisp, laser-like volleys, especially at 5-4 in the 3rd set — that was a stupendous volley. Additionally, Karlovic played a smart 3rd set; Fed was rushing, but Karlovic smartly began slowing down by towelling off and taking his time on his serves. The last game of the 3rd set, he took some extra time bouncing the ball and hit 3 aces. In the tie-break he played at his own pace, with authority, taking conrol of the match. I’d say, Karlovic overall played best when it mattered.

On another topic, ESPN bottom line stated Baghdatis will be out of the Olympics and the US Open due to wrist problems. Also, Sharapova has withdrwn from the Rogers Cup tournament and would probabaly be out of the Olympics due to shoulder problems. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the strings on the racquets are the cause of a significant amount of wrist and shoulder injuries.


Vulcan Says:

As much as I love Federer, Im sure at this point hes wonderingg if hell want to show up at Wimbledon next year wearing the blazer or not…I doubt he is prepared to think of himself as the world number 2.


Oleg Says:

Roddick didn’t lose confidence over the no1 ranking. He was simply outplayed over the years by players with more complete games like Federer and Nadal, Djokovic, and even players like Davydenko who doesn’t have a huge weapon but a very complete game.

Roddick’s backhand (which he should get credit for improving over the years) is the main reason why he lost the no1 ranking in my opinion.


Vulcan Says:

Oleg, Roddick had his chances against Federer…I remember their match at Wimbledon were Roddick was the favorite according to the bookies. He came out on fire…and outplayed Federer in the first and took it. But when he lost…the belief that he could be Federer started to wane…its all about confidence…I mean come on if Federer can lose to Karlovic you mean to tell me he couldnt lose to Roddick who has a bigger serve and can almost match Federer from the baseline?


Oleg Says:

I would argue that Karlovic’s serve is more effective against Federer than Roddick’s serve .

Federer always has had a pretty good sense of where Roddick is going to serve, and always has had his share of break chances against Andy.
Not so against Ivo. Probably because of the freakish angle that Ivo gets on his serve.


Vulcan Says:

I agree with your points…I would throw in there also that Roddick just cant volley to save his life. But still so much of it at the highest level is mental…Roddick seemed to believe he could beat Federer but from my vantage point that belief just evaporated after he couldnt beat him not even once.


Vulcan Says:

Also, Roddick is no slouch from the baseline…he was a grinder as a kid and it shows in his game.


Von Says:

Davydenko has never outplayed Roddick. Roddick’s H2H against Davydenko is 5-1, and his H2H against Djoko and Nadal is 2-2. The only lopsided H2H is against Federer. Roddick began losing his confidence against Federer each time he got beaten, which is a normal mindset, similar to what’s happening with Federer v. Nadal. If you lose to someone more times than you win, after 4 or 5 straight losses, your confidence will definitely disappear. Another aspect of Roddick’s game that he neglectd was his backhand; he let it deteriorate. He has improved on his backhand to a certain extent and is working on his net play, but now that he has been sidelined since May with his shoulder/back problems, who knows to what extent his game has further deteriorated.


Vulcan Says:

Von I think perhaps Oleg mentioned Davydenko only because Roddick allowed him to snatch the Miami Masters from him…after Roddick was in tears after beating Federer I would have thought he would take the tournament but it was not to be.


Oleg Says:

Von:
I didn’t mean to imply that they were better than Roddick H2H. So ‘outplayed’ was probably the wrong choice of words… I should have said “get further into tournaments on average”.

The point I was making is that Davydenko for example is a more complete player (no glaring weakness) and that in this era (2002-present) if you have a weakness on of the three big ones (serve, forehand, or backhand), you basically can’t be top 5.
This wasn’t necessarily true before 2002.


Vulcan Says:

Moya finishes off 2 opponents in one day…not bad for the 32 year old veteran. I think he finally stopped running WAY around his back hand.


zola Says:

FoT, Fedex, …all Fed fans, ***hugs***

Fed should have won that match, but Ivo was very focused and played smart. After Fed won the second set and Ivo was so tired in the third, I though the match was Fed’s.

Andrew,
I think Roger is just nervous, because it is a difficult year for him. I also think the lopsided loss at FO and then the loss at Wimbledon where he was playing ggreat tennis, just shook his confidence. he has tried to be optimistic about them and try to move on and it just doesn’t happen.It is easier for Rafa because he is climbing and the situation is exciting. For Federer, it is disappointing.

I always thought the pressure these guys have to go through is just tremendous.Fed is strong and he will bounce back.


charlotte Says:

I was wondering whether without the Olympic scheduling bringing these tournies forward, i.e. Fed’s points not being knocked off, would Rafa actually be number one today? If so, I wish this were any year but an Olympic year, (unless Rafa wangles a GOLD of course!).

It is truly ironic that having stalled for YEARS at number two, Rafa, ever patient, is forced to wait a little longer. I hope he reaches the Olympian summit soon and declares himself the new God of tennis. He thoroughly deserves it!


zola Says:

vulcan
***Moya finishes off 2 opponents in one day…not bad for the 32 year old veteran***

He did?

Wow! Great job Moya! what energy!


Colin Says:

Von, you say Roddick’s only lopsided head-to-head is against Federer. You probably mean the only one against the top players, but as a Brit I must point out that he also has a losing head-to-head agaisnt Andy Murray, unless I’m much mistaken.


Vulcan Says:

Zola, yeah pretty cool…Cincy is a special place for him since he won it back in 02…it never ceases to amaze me the way players do well at tournaments where they have had previous success…even when the odds are stacked against them


Von Says:

Vulcan:

“Von I think perhaps Oleg mentioned Davydenko only because Roddick allowed him to snatch the Miami Masters from him…after Roddick was in tears after beating Federer I would have thought he would take the tournament but it was not to be.”

I agree with you, Roddick whould have won that match. I have a background in psychology, so pleae excuse me if I answer you from a psychological coign of vantage. My feelings on that match wherein Roddick lost to Davydenko happened due to Roddick being emotionally spent excessively after beating Federer. He most probably agonized for days after the draw thinking about the humiliation he would suffer again if he lost one more time to Fed. Hence, when he beat Fed, i think the exhiliaration left him emotionally drained. Andy stated he was awake for most of the night just reminiscing over the many times he lost to Fed and the heartache he suffered. Again, my thinking is that after beating Fed he really didn’t care if he won or lost to Davy because the satisfaction he derived from that one win over Fed, was enough to assuage his past humiliation.

____________
Oleg:

“I didn’t mean to imply that they were better than Roddick H2H. So ‘outplayed’ was probably the wrong choice of words… I should have said “get further into tournaments on average”.”

Do you really think so about getting further in tournaments? I’d say before ’05, Roddick got further in most tournaments, but after then Nadal on clay and at Wimby got deeper. Djoko, only from ’07 got deeper, but who has stopped Roddick from progressing further? Federer. Had it not been for Fed, Roddick could or would have had at least 4 more slams. Nadal has been fortunate to avoid Fed because he has always been on the opposite side of the draw. Thus, he was assured of nearly always reaching the finals. As soon as Roddick lost the No. 2 spot, his chances of going deeper disappeared — he always seemed to end up on Fed’s side of the draw which eliminated his chances of winning anything.

___________
Colin:

“…as a Brit I must point out that he also has a losing head-to-head agaisnt Andy Murray, unless I’m much mistaken ….”

I was talking mainly about Fed, Nadal and Djoko. You are correct regarding Murray; their H2H is probably 4-2, and also Tommy Haas 5-2(?). My numbers are approximate, but I know that the H2H is not as lopsided as Fed’s 15-3. Andy has a chance of making the H2H against Murray and Haas better, but with Fed, it’s probably not going to happen.

Are the Brits as proud of Murray as they were of Henman?


Sar Says:

Djokovic will have to work hard against Gulbis.
I hope he is prepared but this humidity cannot be good for Novak and his “asthma” or whatever he has.


Sean Says:

Federer is not playing poor tennis at all.

Still very high quality, certainly #2 Player in the World Caliber, right? :)

Federer is still the one to beat..he has a phenomenal ability in the shot making department. When he plays brilliantly he doesnt’ give you chances.

And he has been choking against Nadal..it’s psychological.

When he gets his act together, he will be a very dangerous player espically to lose his #1 ranking in the world, it’s do or die time..let’s see what he does to pull himself up as nervousness and confidence issues will now belong to Nadal..

Let’s see how he handles this pressure.

Except for the French 2008 Final, there is no way Federer should be losing to Nadal..

Nadal is a amazing player but Roger’s talent is much greater..

But still you have to win because Nadal won’t hand matces over to you..

Karlovic played great…would Nadal have been ablt to beat Karlovic also?

Probably not..so what is to be said for Federer’s loss then…

Karlovic won it because he played amazing tennis.

Sean


jane Says:

Von, Sar,

Just saw your posts with regard to Djoko now- thanks. Sar, I agree Novak will have to work hard to beat Gulbis; they played a great bu tight match at RG.

Interesting discussion here about Roddick – good points made by all.

I am happy for Moya; he’s had a kind of crappy year so far hasn’t he? So it’s good to see him having some success. I wonder for how long he’ll stick around?


Von Says:

jane:

“Just saw your posts with regard to Djoko now- thanks.”

you’re welcome.

“I am happy for Moya; he’s had a kind of crappy year so far hasn’t he? So it’s good to see him having some success. I wonder for how long he’ll stick around?”

I’d say Moya will be around for as long as he feels fit. He’s been rejuvenated lately — he has a new girlfriend — a real spicy red-head no less. :) Sorry for Flavia, but this new one is a looker..


jane Says:

Von,

Didn’t know about Moya’s new readhead – it may put some gas in the tank for a while yet. But he got to the quarters here last year and to the quarters at the USO last year as well, so this is a good time in the season for him too.


zola Says:

Vulcan,
I hope Moya is not too tired to play Andy Murray tomorrow. Murray has been playing great after Wimbledon and Moya is doing great considering he is going to be 32 soon! The winner will play Rafa ( hopefully!) in the semis and they both are so dangerous for Rafa. I don’t know who to pick! Just hope its a long match!

I think Gulbis-Djoko will be an interesting one. Gulbis has the game to trouble anyone, but can’t concentrate for a long time.

Karlovic-Kohli, .. I don’t know. I go with Ivo. I just like him. He is such a gentle guy.

And RAfa-Lapentti, I am hoping Rafa can play better than today. I don’t know if it was the nerves or whatever, he played very poorly today. Of course all credits to Haas for playing a fantastic match.


Colin Says:

Von asks if the Brits are as proud of murray as they were of Henman. It’s important to distinguish between the British public and the British media (particularly the tabloid papers). It’s the media who hype sportsmen prematurely, raise unreasonable expectations, then attack the player when things go wrong. Look at the forum on the BBC website, and you’ll find lots of folk who dislike Murray intensely, chiefly for silly reasons like his personality, though theyt are being quieter now he’s doing well. Speaking for myself, I admired Henman, though he could drive you nuts with his inconsistency. Murray is not exactly Mr Personality, but he is probably more talented than Henman was.


Von Says:

Colin:

Thanks for the explanation of the differences between the British public and the British media. I think the same is true for most countries. Here in the US, it’s one day hero and next day goat (the horned animal). I liked Henman a lot for his gentlemanly demeanour. Pity “Gentleman Jim” could not win a Wimbledon title to give the Brits something to celebrate, on a grand scale. I agree Murray is more talented than Henman, and I think in time, Murray’s personality will mellow. Please don’t throw any darts at me if it doesn’t pan out the way I’m predicting. :)

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