As I wrote yesterday, this final week of the regular ATP tennis season really is going out with a bang. Just look at the card for tomorrow at the Tennis Masters Series Paris which includes more than just a few interesting matchups.
Your mileage may vary, but if I could see just one match it would be the contest between Andy Roddick and Gilles Simon, just wish it wasn’t on so early! Roddick’s been playing better of late and we know how well Simon’s been hitting it. On a slower court with the locals routing him on, I give Simon the edge in this one.
No. 1 Rafael Nadal hasn’t had too many losses in Paris during his career – I believe just one! – and Thursday he meets my man Gael Monfils in what should be the most entertaining match of the day. Nadal, who beat another Frenchmen Serra today, might not be at his peak while Monfils should be able to run down just enough balls to trouble the Spaniard, but I still think Rafa gets through in the end. Should be fun to watch, though, and maybe Gael can pull it out. If any Frenchmen can beat Rafa in Paris it’s him.
The French faithful will also be rooting hard for their man JW Tsonga, who faces Novak Djokovic in a reprise of their Australian Open final encounter. Tsonga beat Novak indoors a few weeks back but it should be noted that Novak was mask-less. I think now, mask or no mask, JW does it again tomorrow, all but spoiling a potential Roddick-Djokovic quarterfinal clash.
On the “undercard” if you will, Juan Martin Del Potro and David Nalbandian meet again for the third time in as many weeks. JDMP won in Madrid while “Fat Dave” got the kid back in Basel. I’ll lean ever so slightly to Dave in this one. He’s the defending champ after all.
Roger Federer has really turned his game around the last 60 days or so. The Swiss looked comfortable and moved well again today in a win over Robin Soderling, and I think tomorrow should be another straight-setter over the young star Marin Cilic.
Also tomorrow, James Blake will try to keep his slim Masters Cup Shanghai hopes alive against Phil Kohlscreiber. Blake went the distance with Simone Bolleli today, and based on that result I like the German tomorrow.
Andy Murray rolled up Sam Querrey ending the American’s 2008 season, and for his effort he now gets the volatile Fernando Verdasco. Should be no troubles again for the Scot. And who can forget Nikolay Davydenko? The unforgettable Russian meets Tomas Berdych in the last match on the main court. Wasn’t Nikolay injured? No matter, I’ll take Berdych!
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