Nadal, Murray Lead Fab Four into Australian Open 16s
by Sean Randall | January 24th, 2009, 8:22 pm
  • 92 Comments

It’s hard to argue with the men’s final 16 at the Australian Open. What a group, what a lineup, led by the Fab Four Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.

I said in my last post that after two rounds it was hard to differentiate playing levels among the Top 4, but after seeing another few days of play things are coming more into focus.

Federer I thought really played one of the best matches I’d seen from him in quite a while in his win over Marat Safin. Sure, Safin’s not the same guy he use to be but it was an impressive performance by Roger. For the win Fed now gets Tomas Berdych who shouldn’t pose much of a threat to the Swiss. Then it will be a 20-year-old, either Marin Cilic or Juan Martin del Potro, in the next round. That match is going on at the moment (why is the Tennis Channel is stuck on Jelena Jankovic-Marion Bartoli?) and I still like JMDP to get through even though he’s behind. Regardless of the opponent, I think Fed’s experience over either Cilic or JMDP should win out in the end.

While Fed’s looked very good the same cannot be said for Djokovic who was teetering on the brink of a five-setter against the lowly Amer Delic. Credit to Delic, but that’s a match Novak’s got to put away quickly and easily but he didn’t. Now he’ll test Baghdatis and his faithful fans tonight in what should be a colorful match (I’ll be taping it!). Djokovic is the better player than Bags, but the crowd, the environment, the pressure and the moment could get the Novak. But I think the Serb advances.

Andy Roddick is also alive in that section. After three very cushy opponents Roddick will have a big step-up in class today against Tommy Robredo. Roddick owns Robredo 9-0 so it’s hard to go against the American here. But I think it will be much closer than their previous meetings as Robredo comes into the match without the loss of a set. If there’s an upset today, this is the one.

In the bottom half it’s hard to pick who’s looked better, Nadal or Murray. Last night Nadal dismantled Tommy Haas (I didn’t see the match but that’s what I gather from the reports). Nadal now gets a revenge meeting against Fernando Gonzalez who thrashed the Spaniard at the 2007 Australian Open. Gonzo outlasted Richard Gasquet last night, and after two five setters in the first week I don’t think the Chilean has enough left in the tank for Rafa.

Probably the best match of the 16s may be between friends Gael Monfils and Gilles Simon. My man Monfils has shown no indication of a foot problem he had entering the tournament so that’s a good sign because he’ll need his speed and agility to beat his steady countryman tomorrow, and I think he does it.

If there’s a second 16s match I’d want to watch it’s Murray v. Fernando Verdasco. Of anyone left, Fernando has arguably been the hottest player surrendering a tournament-low 12 games. But let’s not forget, he is Fernando Verdasco after all and at some point he’ll come back down the earth. So I’ll take Murray in this one. But it should be exciting.

Last year’s finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is quietly hanging around and in the fourth round Monday he’ll meet James Blake. Not much to choose between these two big hitters, but I’ll take Tsonga’s experience here to edge the American in an entertaining affair.

As for the women, it still looks like Serena Williams, Elena Dementieva and everyone else. Right now Jankovic is down a set and a break to Bartoli, though I wouldn’t bet the farm the Bartoli holds that lead. I think in the top half today Dinara Safina’s the pick to get the final. No one else really grabs my interest and at this stage, looking ahead the women’s event really pales in comparison to the men’s.


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Miami Title Moves Djokovic Past Federer For Lead In 2012 Rankings; French Open Top Seed Still TBD
Murray Beats Ferrer, to Face Pal Djokovic in Australian Open Final
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92 Comments for Nadal, Murray Lead Fab Four into Australian Open 16s

TD (Tam) Says:

Sean: “Andy Roddick is also alive in that section. After three very cushy opponents Roddick will have a big step-up in class today against Tommy Robredo. Roddick owns Robredo 9-0 so it’s hard to go against the American here. But I think it will be much closer than their previous meetings as Robredo comes into the match without the loss of a set. If there’s an upset today, this is the one.”

I have every faith in tennis-x’s “Staff” to write off Roddick’s win over Robredo in their next installment even though you classified it as a step up from the likes of Malisse and Santoro!

Will somebody please slap some sense into Jelena Jankovic? When is this girl going to step it up and win big? She should not have lost to Bartoli. She is a very frustrating player to root for!

I think Federer has had a very soft draw, Berdych will get crushed in straight sets. he is no match for The Federer.

Everybody enjoy the matches tonight and good luck to all of our faves!


Giner Says:

Djokovic is the only top 4 player that so far has not looked like a top 4 player. This could be because of his new racquet however. But if there’s a weak player out of that group, it’s him. I like Djoko in both game and character so I hope he lifts his game tonight. He’s up against Baggy whom the crowd will be supporting. It’s not going to be easy for him.

“Gonzo outlasted Richard Gasquet last night, and after two five setters in the first week I don’t think the Chilean has enough left in the tank for Rafa.”

He’s going to be sore after all that work. He looked spent against Gasquet (who looked like he could go on for another set). All credit to Gasquet for being a good sport at the end and his stoic nature. I’ve never seen him get rattled.

“As for the women, it still looks like Serena Williams, Elena Dementieva and everyone else. Right now Jankovic is down a set and a break to Bartoli, though I wouldn’t bet the farm the Bartoli holds that lead. I think in the top half today Dinara Safina’s the pick to get the final. No one else really grabs my interest and at this stage, looking ahead the women’s event really pales in comparison to the men’s.”

Bartoli closed her out. Janks ran out of challenges quite early in the second and wasn’t able to use them later. She challenges a lot. I agree about the quality of the women’s game at the moment compared to the men’s. We’re not getting the salivating matchups in the latter rounds that we are used to seeing with the men.

I’m a new fan of Alize Cornet after the hopman cup (I’ve been behind her since my other favourite Aggie Radwanska lost), so I hope she wins against Safina, but I know she won’t. She’s still too inexperienced, but a great effort so far nonetheless.


jane Says:

Yeah, sadly, I have to agree with both Sean and Giner re: Djokovic. I want him to get through and to at the least the quarters! If he loses to Roddick, well, okay, good on Roddick, but if Robredo does pull off a miracle and beats Andy this round, I hope Novak takes Tommy out to face (likely) Federer in the semis.

I still like Nadal and Murray too, and think they look strong for the title. Mind you, I need to see all of the top players more challenged – will be better able to gage then.


jane Says:

Baghdatis may be unseeded but let’s face it; this is his place. This is where he gets his mojo, and where he battled Hewitt to the wee hours last year, taking out Safin in a great match first. And he seems to be hungry. It’ll be a stern test for Djokovic to come through that one!


jane Says:

Fallen women! First Venus and Ivanovic, then JJ, and now it’s looking like Safina may be out (?), as she is presently down 4-5 in the third set. The Serbs are not doing so well in 2009 so far in general. Ivanovic needs a coach; JJ needs a big win; Tipsy didn’t perform like he did here last year; Novak needs some consistency and possibly his old racquet back.

At least the men’s side has a lot of depth and character to offer at the moment, and at least there have been a few surprise and break through faces on the women’s side. I’m still hoping Dementieva will win her first slam.


stranger Says:

Sean
Nadal and Murray are on the top half. Nadal is now No 1! just a reminder!


jane Says:

Yay – Safina comes back from down 2-5 in the final set to win it 7-5. Is was very Rafaesque, that come back.


fernando Says:

Let’s not forget these matches, at the moment, are being played with like 100º of heat out there. The level of play of both Safina-Cornet and JMDP-Cilic has been subpar just because of that.

Playing in Australia with this schedule is insane!


RG Says:

Jane – that was indeed a great comeback for Safina.

Now, wrt the Cilic – Del Potro match. I wasn’t able to watch the match, but I just caught a portion of the fourth set. Cilic just looked totally out of sorts. He was missing his forehands by a wide margin. He looked in such great form in his last match against Ferrer! Wonder, what was wrong with him?

Djokovic vs Baghdatis -
I agree, this is not going to be easy for Novak. He has not looked sharp at all. Switching to a new racquet could be a a possible reason, but I believe, he is also lacking in confidence – especially against the top players. I also believe, he needs to be a tad more aggressive, go for his shots just a lil bit more. Unlike you – losing to Roddick will not be easy to digest; I would love for him to go all the way and defend the title…wishful thinking..esp based on current form.

On another note – What a start to the Federer – Berdych match! Now Federer has got one break back.


jane Says:

RG – Well I’d love to see Djokovic defend the title too! But if he has to go out, going out to Roddick, another player I like, would be better than going out now in the R16!

I agree with you that Djokovic has confidence issues, and his family are not here to support him so he is on his own. Not a ton of crowd support either. Sigh. I hope he gets better and has a good year! I really like the guy, as a person, and as a player.

I think the heat got to Cilic; I think he needs to work on fitness and conditioning.


jane Says:

Wow! Berdych came out swinging didn’t he? If he had better movement he’d really be dangerous. Federer seems a bit sluggish so far.


RG Says:

Surprise! Federer loses the first set! Berdych ceratinly looked good.


Sean Randall Says:

I’d be surprised if Tomas pulled this out. Fed was slow to start.


RG Says:

Such a predictable start to the 2nd set, when The Federer loses the first.

Except for Nadal and maybe Murray recently, most players are not able to sustain the momentum against Federer. I know … Novak beat him in straight sets last year at the Open.


RG Says:

I may have to eat my words… Berdych has broken back.


jane Says:

It’s just nice to see Berdych focused like this and at least taking one set, even if he can’t sustain the momentum. He’s come close in so many sets against Federer, but hasn’t been able to close them out – like last year here. Tonight, he seems determined and that’s good to see from him, imo, no matter whether he wins or not. I feel for underachievers like Gasquet and him: all that talent!


RG Says:

Berdych – up 2 sets on Federer! This match has gotten very interesting!


Mary Says:

Did Federer forget to concentrate on this match and keep his mind on Djoko/Murray/Nadal?
Berdych(sp) took him out on the first service.


Giner Says:

Oh dear.. Fed is in trouble. Berdych has him down 2 sets to 0. He’s only come back from such a deficit thrice in his career, though admittedly he rarely gets into such a deficit.

Earlier my girl Cornet almost took out Safina. Served for it at 5-2 and had 2 match points at 5-4 but couldn’t do it. That’s a tough learning experience for her, but she surprised me getting this far. I read Safina’s post match interview and I’m not impressed. It was very Serena-like and it infuriated me. Except it sounded like a Serena in defeat, not in victory. It’s hard to blame her because she doesn’t come from an english speaking background (similar to her brother in interviews sometimes), but she never even referred to her opponent by name, only “this girl”. That’s very rude.


Sean Randall Says:

This will a long road back for Roger. Certainly possible, but odds are stacked against a big server like Berdych. So much for sleep!


Mary Says:

Sean Randall: IF Federer loses tonight, I’m sure Venus and Roger would like a word with you.


jane Says:

Indeed RG. I am ultra impressed with Berdych. Very few errors and a razor sharp focus like I’ve never seen from him, possibly ever. Obviously his coach is doing him some good. Berdych isn’t serving great, in that he’s not hitting a bunch of aces – only 2 and only 56% first serve percentage.

It’s really a combination of Federer not playing well and Berdych playing with a new belief. Federer’s forehand is questionable.

But Federer just broke to start the third set, so we’ll see.


Giner Says:

In recent memory, Fed was down 2-0 against Djokovic last year and against Nadal twice and failed to get back. Berdych is a tough customer himself and Fed will be hoping for a mental collapse from the giant because it doesn’t look like he’s giving too much away.

Fed does have an early break however, but there’s no guarantee he can hang onto it. Oh wait, Berdych just broke back. Okay, pressure is on.

So far this has not been Fed’s day.


jane Says:

And Tomas breaks back — again!

If Federer goes out tonight, that will really amp up things on this side of the draw. Roddick will want through with a shot at the title; Djokovic will have another possible sniff at number 2 if he can go deep or even repeat; JMDP will be looking for a chance to go further and break through.

Not to mention Berdych himself, who will and should (!) have a surging confidence going forward. Wow!

Federer should really consider hiring a coach. Seriously, it could help with the forehand etc.


Mary Says:

Jane:
I thought Roger still had Jose as a coach? Did you mean a coach to travel with him?
I seriously think he kinda skipped over this match in his mind.

He must win so we don’t have to listen to the ESPN announcers bemoan the lost for the rest of the year.


Mary Says:

Fed just got broke again!


Blah Says:

Federer better wake up. Berdych isn’t going anywhere. Nobody saw him making this run here. I am starting to think Fed might become the late late Pete. It’s hard to predict though because few have donated like this in a short period, so while past top players might have lost early in slams here or there they could make it back to win a slam like nothing happened, I don’t know whether Federer can do that.


jane Says:

Mary,

I guess Jose is around (don’t know for sure), but he’s more for “clay” isn’t he? In my opinion, yes, Federer should hire a full-time coach who travels with him. He needs that to help him to break the records he wants to break. There is a hungry pack of wolves slavering to win slams and major titles, and they’re nipping at his heels, maybe even sinking in their teeth.

Maybe Fed skipped over this match, and who can blame him in a way, if he did?

Most of us knew Berdych was rolling under the radar, but he does that all the time until he meets a top ten player. Then he usually loses, making a lot of great shots, but too many errors. Who expected that he’d come out transformed mentally into someone who actually believes in his god-given talent!


RG Says:

Jane – wrt your previous post – I think I understand what you are trying to say. But, this has exactly been the problem with the generation of players before the arrival of the likes of Nadal, Djokovic, Murray etc…

A lack of self-belief. Or as Tommy Haas said… and I’m paraphrasing here…”waving a white flag when stepping on the court with Federer”. Or giving Federer too much respect.

In this regard, Roddick is at fault too. Some Wimbledons ago, when he was overwhelming Federer with raw power for a couple of sets, before he eventually succumbed to Federer – He remarked in the post-match conference how he threw everything including the kitchen sink at Roger.. and how Roger was just so great! Andy was very sincere, gracious in defeat and quite humorous too… But, I believe Federer gained a mental edge over Roddick.

Anyways – I hope, I have not come on too strongly. All I wanted these last few years is more stiff competition for Federer. And I’m just happy to see this come to fruition.


jane Says:

RG – Not too strongly at all; in fact, I agree 100% with your statement following: “All I wanted these last few years is more stiff competition for Federer. And I’m just happy to see this come to fruition.”


Giner Says:

I’m stunned right now. After seven comprehensive losses to Fed in a row, I expected this one to go easy. I’d written off Berdych a while ago. I did not think Berdych would turn it on now.

He hasn’t won yet, but I’m not liking what I’m seeing from Fed. I don’t know if he can do it.

If Fed goes out here, I hope Djokovic makes the final, though Murray will become an even bigger favourite to win it if Fed’s not playing.

Fed’s semi-finals streak is on the line, and this time there’s no mononucleosis responsible.


Giner Says:

jane, I think some American player or academy recruited Jose Higueras shortly after Wimbledon. Fed only used him to help with clay, which obviously didn’t work. Some say he cost Roger the Wimbledon title as he did Pete in 96 by tampering with his game.


Blah Says:

Berdych is starting to get shaky… if Fed lasts this set… wow Berdych just blew about four or five shots


jane Says:

Berdych just broke himself. It’s possible Federer could still come back if Berdych caves in, or regresses to his old error-prone self.

Roddick won the first set, but it was tight at 7-5.


RG Says:

Those missed volleys by Berdych!


Blah Says:

Too early to say match over?


Blah Says:

Nice time to malfunction hawkeye.


RG Says:

Blah – thats right! I think Roger is already clawing his way back.


jane Says:

Yes, that was convenient. Funny – I have never seen that happen before, where the replay “wasn’t available”! Has anyone else seen that?

If it goes 5, Roger will win. Berdych is making a lot of errors now and the crowd will obviously be behind Federer. And remember: Berdych and Gasquet are oft-mentioned in the same breath for a reason. Too bad that Berdych seems to have lost the momentum with which he came out.


Blah Says:

Were they saying that replay wasnt available or that the replay was and the upstairs reviewed it and it’s called out? Cause the latter would be complete bs, you show it no matter what

And also- how come espn didn’t show the shot with their own camera? They do that quite often.


Giner Says:

There’s a period of 30-60 minutes during sunset when shadows cause hawkeye to be unavailable or inaccurate. I believe there’s an early period where it’s unavailable also. This was very unfortunate for Berdych because it looks like it may have caught a bit of the line. It gave Fed a break point which he took.

The umpire didn’t explain the situation too well either. I have seen other matches play during this time (probably during Wimbledon) where the umpire announces that hawkeye will be offline for the next 30-60 mins. He didn’t say anything, or was unaware of it.

Let’s see if Berdych can pull himself together and regroup. It was Berdych himself that lost the third set, and probably 4th, not Federer’s doing. He’s tight. If he doesn’t win it will be one of his toughest losses, and one of Federer’s biggest wins. This is a real test for both players. Momentum is with Fed right now.


Mary Says:

Giner: Thank You for that explanation!

Roddick is up two sets to zero.

What kind of temperment does Berdych have? I ask b/c the channel I’m watching doesn’t have commercials and he continuously barks at the ball boys between sets to go get him water. The announcers keep making snarky comments about it.


jane Says:

Thanks for clarifying; I had never heard of that re: Hawkeye being unavailable. But it’s clear Berdych is unraveling here, and he’s down a break.

I don’t know if I’d called it one of Federer’s biggest wins if he scraps through because as you just said, Berdych himself lost that 3rd set; Federer didn’t win it by hitting a bunch of winners, although he did cut down a lot on errors, whereas the opposite happened with Berdych.

Anyhow, we’ll see what transpires…


Blah Says:

What tennis player doesn’t bark at the ball boys and behave like prima donnas these days? You should see Nalbandian continually scream and curse at the towel boys.


jane Says:

Roddick is definitely cruising; he’s up a break in the third now. Andy’s always had Roberdo’s number, and tonight he’s dialing it as per usual.


Giner Says:

Well I just lost my coverage because evening news is on. In past years, the news would get delayed and shortened if the tennis was extended.

From the analysts on our end, the shadows were really bothering Berdych. You could see that he wasn’t going after Federer’s shots because he kept losing sight of the ball as it goes from light to dark or dark to light. He wasn’t moving towards shots that were gettable, and his return of serve was difficult because when Fed tosses the ball up, it’s lit by the sun, but when it comes back down it’s in the shade and Berdych lost sight of the ball and couldn’t do anything.

This is always difficult when the court is partially covered in shadow. Whenever Fed hit it into the shade, Berdych would freeze helplessly. It’s unfortunate for him, but the elements are something you have to deal with, and the problem is equal for both players, so Fed has had to deal with it too but he’s done so better.

There is no excuse. Fed’s eyesight is not the best. His record with challenges is poor, and he lost two matches to Nadal because he couldn’t adjust to the fading light (FO 05, and Wimby 08) as well as Nadal did.


Mary Says:

Next time I’m having a bad day, I’m gonna call an injury timeout.
As my cool announcers(I have to give the announcers that Dtv is using a big clap) said, they are working on a leg that is a prior injury and they should not allow the timeout.
I hate injury timeouts.


Giner Says:

I’m quite pissed off that I won’t get to see the conclusion of this match. It won’t be back on until 7:30 pm local time (when Dokic’s match is scheduled to begin) so unless these guys play for another hour and a half, I won’t even know what happened.

This is what happens when you only have 3 commercial channels FTA. They couldn’t put it on a dedicated sports channel because there isn’t one.

I would rather be watching your feed since there are no commercial breaks, so you don’t see the same repetitive ads and you get more analysis. Who’s commentating on ESPN?

When the court is covered completely in shadow, Berdych should be able to get back in and hope for a good push in the 5th set.

jane, you’re right that it won’t be one of Fed’s biggest wins, but he’s only been down 2-0 and come back 3 or 4 times in his career. Every time you do that, it’s a big win. It will be a big win for Berdych if he comes through though, regardless. It will mean that he can steady the ship when things get tight and come home. Right now, Fed knows that Berdych can crack when he sees the finish line, and use that to his advantage in future tussles.


Kroll Says:

Jane
“Berdych and Gasquet are oft-mentioned in the same breath for a reason. ”

Thats a very good comment – of course Berdych’s weapons being a great serve and killer forehand. In fact when Rafa was upcoming (i.e. when he had won like 2 RGs) he had a lot of bogeymen in hardcourts – Blake, Djoker, Ferrer and so on, but none worse than Berdych who I think has never lost to Rafa on hardcourts. And it seemed that he could only get better, till he actually got rubbish and had a bad last couple of years. Maybe this is the start of his re-ascent, who knows.

Oh Btw has somebody noticed how cool Roddick has been playing?


jane Says:

GINER – Go to streaming! atdhe.net/

It should be on there.


Mary Says:

Also try channelsurfing.net and justin.tv.


jane Says:

Kroll,

Yes. Roddick could, I think, get to the final. He has a good shot at the semis, and if it’s Federer he runs into, well Federer looks beatable at the moment, even if Berdych doesn’t come through tonight. The thing is I am not sure if it’s Murray in the final that Roddick would be able to win it. If it’s Nadal, I guess it’s possible since hardcourts are not Rafa’s best surface. But now is a good time for Roddick.


Giner Says:

Kroll:

Berdych and Nadal have played 4 times on hard with Berdych leading 3-1. Nadal won their last meeting in Miami 08.

Mary:

Who took the timeout? Berdych? What was his problem? Not tiredness I hope?


Blah Says:

Random but one match up I would really love to see is Del Potro v.s. Djokovic for some reason.Of course, Federer (if he makes it through) v.s. Del Potro and Roddick v.s. Djokovic are great match ups itself.

-Too early to have these thoughts, still a great match going on right now, but this is going to be a great quarterinal.


Mary Says:

Giner: he had his leg massaged, but he is running around just fine.


RG Says:

2 sets all. But the shot making has been amazing. Riveting match!


jane Says:

Giner – did you find some streaming? You really must!

Re: time out – Berdych had a taped hamstring so he had it tended to. I didn’t think it was uncalled for – completely within the rules

Well the match is level which means Federer will win. He’s going into the fifth with momentum, and it;s not Rafa or Murray across the net, so… this one should be over quick now.


Sean Randall Says:

Well, Berdych has done his best to give this to Fed, and Fed’s taking it. Hard to bet against Fed at this point.

Roddick is rolling. Andy v. Andy final??


RG Says:

Murray vs Tsonga should be a great matchup too.


jane Says:

Sean,

“Andy v. Andy final??” I just mentioned that possibility above; I’d give the edge to Murray if they both make it to the final, just because of his variety and the fact that he’ll fight hard to win this time if he gets that far. Hard to say though who’ll make it through at this point – but of JMDP, Fed, Djoko and Roddick, Andy is the only one who is yet to drop a set!


Sean Randall Says:

If he does get through, Fed’s going to have to play better to beat some like Rafa or Murray.

Roddick goes thru. Robredo has zero belief against Andy.


RG Says:

whats up with Berdych’s first game in each of the last 3 sets?


Sean Randall Says:

Jane, Andy could beat Marcos/Djoko and if Fed plays at a lower level (or if Fed loses), then I could see Roddick in the final.


Giner Says:

Thanks for the links jane and Mary. They chew up quite a bit of bandwidth and there’s no commentary but it’s better than nothing.

I think Berdych still has a chance. If he can clear his mind and put the last two sets behind him and forget about them, then start off fresh. The darkness won’t bother him anymore since the entire court is covered in shade.

Fed is not going to choke. Berdych has to believe he can win, and he still has a shot, if it’s 2 sets all. He has the advantage of serving first also.


jane Says:

Blah, fyi, Djoko has played JMDP twice already – once at the USO in 2007 in which Novak won in straights, and once at the Masters Cup just last year, in which Novak won in straights.


Blah Says:

Really? I do not remember that, still though, almost all of the matchups are exciting and can swing either way(imo) from this point on.


Mary Says:

Sean Randall: If Roddick played with a nothing-to-lose attitude against the top four players, do you think he would have a better chance against them?
I admire Roddick for always “needing” to win, but does it get in the way?


jane Says:

RG – I know? Weird. In two sets at least he was able to get the break right back, but I don’t think Federer will give an inch to him now that the end is in sight.

—————————-
This is over, and frankly, I felt it was over as soon as Federer won the third set. But Federer is lucky it’s Berdych across the net, because a lot of other players would have taken their opportunities and not folded their hand like Tomas has.

BUT – credit to Fed for riding this out, putting in some excellent serves (those have helped him a ton tonight), and tightening up his game to cut down on errors! He deserves the W.


Giner Says:

OK, double break 4-0 for Fed.

Berdych has been hyped since he was 18, and he’s now 23. His mind is not ready for prime time. I think we can safely drop this one. In five years he has not proven himself capable of being at the top of the game.

He’s good for some upsets, but he doesn’t have the mettle to win big titles. Guys like Murray and Djokovic are younger and have shown that they aren’t afraid to win when the match is for the taking. This guy just hasn’t got it. At 23 he is in his prime. If he still doesn’t have it by now, he’s never going to be up there.

He has the talent. It’s just a missed opportunity that never developed and we can all rue what might have been. When the chips are down, he just doesn’t have what it takes to win against a player who doesn’t hand it to him.


RG Says:

Just wondering, if Nadal were on the other side of the set, would the match still be over?

Was it in Monte Carlo – where Nadal came back from 0-5 down in the 1st set against Federe to win it 7-5 or some such score…


RG Says:

Giner:

Gasquet and to some extent Davydenko also fall in the same category.


Giner Says:

RG:

Nadal has done that to Fed a number of times, but always on clay. It happened in Monte Carlo and Hamburg last year.

I think he saved match points against him in Rome a few years back. It was one Fed should have won either way.

And no, I don’t think Nadal would have choked at the latter end of the third set if he were up two sets. Unless you mean, if Nadal was 1-5 against Fed in the fifth. Yes, the match would still be over. If it was clay, maybe not but you still wouldn’t put money on a comeback.


Mary Says:

Good job finding a solution to a problem that should have never existed in the first place.

I didn’t realize that Berdych was so darn young!


Kimmi Says:

Wow!, WOW…Federer did it.


Sean Randall Says:

Great comeback for Raja. Not sure how that plays out the rest of the way, but he’s through.

Mary, if Novak, Fed and JMDP play to their level they’ll beat Roddick. But will they?


john Says:

As a fan of Argentina, I’m happy to see Del Potro making another amazing run in a Grand Slam. I do believe he will be the best player we had since Guillermo Vilas. The Big Q is, can he beat the Top 5 of the World?

Well all that will be answered when he takes on Roger Federer? I’m only optimist about the outcome. Not sure whether Fedex has the legs after that gruesome encounter with Berdych. But still, he is Federer and he still has it.

Will interesting match, we’ll see how things goes.

In your opinion, kindly share with us about the Del Potro/Federer match up?

http://mundoalbiceleste.blogspot.com/2009/01/australian-open-del-potro-first-to.html


Kroll Says:

Dokic won! Excellent match! She had 11 double faults ,58 UEs – she’s alternatingly brilliant and error-prone and it makes for frustrating viewing this late in the night…


Giner Says:

Hey.. what uncanny misfortune for Baghdatis! Remember what happened at this stage (3rd rd) last year?

1. Federer got pushed to 5 sets during the day
2. The ladies match then also went the distance
3. Baggy and his opponent (Hewitt) didn’t go out on court until almost midnight for their 3rd rd match.
4. They too went the distance, finishing at almost 5 am.
6. The next opponent (Djokovic) finished off the disadvantaged winner.

So.. again, Federer got pushed to 5, and the women’s match also went the distance. This time Baggy’s opponent is Djokovic (he doesn’t get to play the victor this time). They don’t go onto court until past 11pm. It would not surprise me at all if this match went to 5 sets with Djoko winning in the end. Roddick might mop up whoever gets through.


Debra Gardner Says:

Boy, what a difference from two years ago. Roger just cruised through and won without dropping a set with everyone else being kind of a backdrop-at least that’s the way the hype was-but this year more players are really really good! I’m really glad myself.


RG Says:

what a missed break opportunity for Noavk!


RG Says:

Giner:

I hope for Novak’s sake, it doesn’t go the distance. I tuned in just before the tiebreaker in the 2nd set. He is up 2 sets to nothing, but still does not appear to have a firm grip on the match.


jane Says:

Fed’s 5 setter against Tipsy last year was much different and imo a more classic and fun-to-watch match. It was a see-saw event with the players exchanging sets the whole way. And Federer did not play badly at all! Tipsarivec was simply “in the zone”. That match was totally enjoyable.

To me the 5 setter against Andreev at the USO last year was even more impressive in some ways, with Federer really gutting out the win, and once again, with the exchanging of sets along the way. After that match you really felt like Federer would be tough to beat!

This match with Berdych was less enjoyable, imo, and less impressive for a Federer fan, I would think. In the first two sets, of course, Berdych was thoroughly on song, showing us his talent and his unusual determination. However, Federer was hardly playing well. He was making too many errors and looked very flat-footed, etc. His forehand was totally off. By the 3rd set, though, Federer was coming back, tightening his game, and really – playing like he should’ve been from the minute the first ball was struck. I don’t know why he started so slow. At the same time, Berdych started playing badly and one could sense a choke happening, the lack of belief creeping back in. That was at the end of the third. To me, it was an uphill battle for Federer, but a downhill one for Berdych – not a tooth-and-nail fight all the way through like the other two five-setters we’ve seen from Federer last year (didn’t include Wimbledon, but that one is in a realm by itself!)

Anyhow, we’ll see what this means for Federer going forward. I don’t think JMDP will be much of a test based on the last times they’ve played. As for Berdych, I think Giner nailed it.
————————————-

I am having a tough time watching Djokovic’s matches! He is not playing well here – like he did last year, when he dominated until the final. He’s struggling from the get-go. I know he had a great first set against Baggy, but he needs to try and do the opposite – get STRONGER as the match goes along. I really think Roddick has an excellent chance of beating him this time, should Novak make it through tonight.


jane Says:

Looking at the stats is not impressive; they’ve both (Novak and Baggy) hit more errors than winners, and their first serve % is not great. Djokovic is pushed on every service game. It’s awful. The one good stat on Novak’s side is that he’s won 19/25 net approaches. I hope that is a facet he can add to his game this year.

To me it looks like he got some money with the racquet change, but sadly he’ll be losing points. Blake said he struggled when he switched (was it to Prince) and after 2 years he went back to his old brand.

Live and learn, I guess.


jane Says:

Well, well – RG – Novak did it. He looked mighty tired at the end though. As Giner pointed out, this scheduling of matches beginning after 11:00 might hurt going forward, But frankly I am just happy Djoko made the quarters.

I like Baggy. I hope he comes back into the scene this year. His smile is infectious.


RG Says:

Hey Jane – Very glad, Novak has made it thru to the Quarters. As I posted earlier, he did not look very convincing, though he was up 2 set to nothing. But, I thought, he played great in the 4th set. In fact, there were some great points by both of them in the 4th set.

On the whole, I thought Novak finshed better in this match as opposed to the Delic match. His forehands were also a lot better (though not as crisp as last year). Last year, he traded forehands with Federer and consistently won most of the rallies.

I’m really excited about the Quarterfinal matchups so far.

Federer vs Del Potro, Roddick vs Novak.

Hoping for Novak to PLAY WELL and WIN.


jane Says:

RG,

Yes, you are right about this “I thought Novak finshed better in this match as opposed to the Delic match. ”

It was good for him to get that second break; even though he was struggling in his own service games, he was able to hold on and break Baghdatis. Novak is good at converting his opportunities for the most part.

Talk to you soon – am tired!!


Giner Says:

Baggy is a late start guy. Last year he started 11:47 pm against Lleyton. This year he started his third round at 11:30, and Novak was awaiting the winner again. Against Novak he started just past 11:00. He finishes in the middle of the night when everyone else is asleep.

It really isn’t fair what they do to him. If it were Wimbledon or the French, they would have had to postpone the match due to darkness. When Hewitt finished his match, he had to do press conferences then massage, then ice bath, and wind down, and he wasn’t able to go to bed until past 8am. I imagine it would have been similar for Marcos.

Novak should be able to recover in time for Roddick though. When I checked the score at 3 am, he was done.

Men having to wait for women to finish is more fair than women waiting for men, however if women go the distance (7-5 5-7 8-6 for Dokic), it isn’t fair at all for the men to have to start at close to midnight.


Codrut Says:

Nole,you are the best!Keep going! Don’t pay attention on the comments! They are envious,they don’t want a serb to win the tornament and so much money!Show them who you are!Be carrefull with Rodick,he is a bludgeoner but you play tennis! Don’t forget that! All the best


Melanie Says:

Sean Randall Says:

I’am idiot” title=”"> January 25th, 2009 at 12:09 am


nadal has an ugly game Says:

period


Giner Says:

Priority number one is winning the match, not looking pretty. If an ‘ugly’ game gets the job done, the winner is not going to be the one complaining.

James Blake was a guy who cared more about putting on a good show than actually winning. He doesn’t have any slams to his name however.

Which would you rather have? An ugly win, or a beautiful loss?

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