Federer, Nadal, Djokovic Into ATP Masters Rome Quarters
by Staff | April 30th, 2009, 6:28 pm
  • 132 Comments

World No. 2 Roger Federer turned a purple patch into a rout on Thursday, defeating the man who knocked him out of the same Masters-Rome last year, in the end rolling past nemesis Radek “The Worm” Stepanek 6-4, 6-1.


Federer failed to serve out the match at 5-3, but broke Stepanek in the next game. Stepanek had a break point in the first game on the Swiss serve, but the wheels came off when he failed to convert and Federer upped his level, racing to a 5-0 lead before closing out the match.

“This year was very different,” Federer said. “I could read his first serve. His second serve was not a problem either. I didn’t have a problem even to attack his second serve, whereas last year I was just trying to get the ball into play, and then obviously he was able to mix it up and make me doubt much more.”

No. 3 seed Novak Djokovic also moved into the quarterfinals in impressive fashion, laying a beating on Spanish claycourt specialist Tommy Robredo 6-1, 6-1.

“I was in control of the match,” said Djokovic. “I think I played quite patient, but then when I needed to step it up I did. It was quite strange because Tommy was making a lot of unforced errors, so he didn’t put a lot of pressure on me.”

No. 12 seed Fernando “Gonzo” Gonzalez impressively broke his racquet in half over his knee in the first set before overcoming unseeded Austrian Jurgen “Tuna” Melzer 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.

Also into the Friday quarterfinals were top-seeded Rafael Nadal who steamrolled Swede Robin Soderling 6-1, 6-0; No. 5 Juan Martin Del Potro outlasting No. 10 Stan Wawrinka 6-3 in the third; No. 6 Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco dousing Richard Gasquet in straights; and two qualifiers into the quarters, with Mischa Zverev of Germany surprising No. 8 Gilles Simon, and Juan Monaco continuing his run with a straight-set win over No. 15 Marin Cilic.

“I think the match was really tough,” said Nadal, who fought off five break chances in the first set. “Not the result, but, yes, the match. The beginning I was winning 4-1, but at the same time I can be losing 4-1.”

Friday’s match-ups will be Djokovic vs. Del Potro, Federer vs. Zverev, Nadal vs. Verdasco in an all-Spanish, and Gonzalez vs. Monaco.


Also Check Out:
Nadal Back to Site of Last Claycourt Loss at Rome
Federer, Nadal Two Sets From Rome Masters Final Clash
Nadal Wins Title, Djokovic Ranking Drop in Rome
Roger Federer Wins 8th Different Masters 1000 Title, Ties Djokovic, Moves Ahead Of Nadal
Novak Djokovic’s Physio: He Should Be Ready For Rome And The French Open

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132 Comments for Federer, Nadal, Djokovic Into ATP Masters Rome Quarters

NachoF Says:

“Federer failed to serve out the match at 5-3,”
The first set?


Kimmi Says:

I like Fed win even though he serve very poor, it shows his groundies are working a little. Not too many UEs but then Stepanek maybe worn-out from the 2 matches yesterday. Good win for Fed nevertheless.

Nadal/Vedarsco is intriguing match tomorrow. Nadal confirms he found the switch with Soderling today, maybe it will be another rout .
Good to see two qualifiers making the quarters, who would have thought. Lets see if they can capitalize another win to the semi, it is getting tougher from here. What about Djokovic/Del Potro, I like the way delpotro stayed with wawrinka even after losing the close 2nd set tie break, it really shows he is maturing and slowly becoming a tough player to beat.

What with Simon? this is another one struggling this year. He cannot put together more that 2 wins. I can’t see him staying in the top ten, delpotro is doing way better so far, he has proved his position in the ranking, beating the guys he is suppose to beat consistently and that win over Nadal will give him a lot of confidence knowing that he can hang in there with the big boys.


Von Says:

“I was in control of the match,” said Djokovic. “I think I played quite patient, but then when I needed to step it up I did. It was quite strange because Tommy was making a lot of unforced errors, so he didn’t put a lot of pressure on me.”

I’m lost here with respect to Djoko stating that when he needed to step it up he did, but then further states Robredo was making a lot of UEs and didn’t put a lot of pressure on him {Djoko}. If Robredo didn’t pressure Djoko, then why would he have needed to step it up?

It’s obvious that Stepanek was not playing, nor has he been playing at the same level as he did last year v. Fed. Step has been somewhat on the lethargic side for the past 3 months, and I would have been extremely surprised if he had won today.

For some unknown reason I thought this tourney would have been the one where everything would fall into place for Gasquet. His backhand has been on song, and even his forehand was hitting some good winners.


Kimmi Says:

“It’s obvious that Stepanek was not playing, nor has he been playing at the same level as he did last year v. Fed. Step has been somewhat on the lethargic side for the past 3 months, and I would have been extremely surprised if he had won today.”

Sorry, Stepanek might not have brought his best game today but he had the best beginning of the year ever. Winning in Brisbane, also winning in san Jose, and reaching the final of memphis. now if that is “being on the lethargic side for the past 3 months” then dont know !

Could be the 2 matches he won yesterday has taken its toll on him but Fed also return better most of the time on stepanek feet so it was hard for him to get easy volleys.


Von Says:

After Memphis, which is close to 3 months ago, Step’s level droped considerably and has been exiting tourneys in the early rounds. And, yes, the two matches he had to play yesterday definitely contributed vastly to his lethargic state. the guy is 30-31 years old.


Steve Says:

I’m not convinced that Federer is over his problems, I really want to see him play someone who will test him with long athletic baseline rally’s, and see if his backhand and forehand will breakdown, neither of his last two opponents plays like that, I don’t know much about the guy he’s going to play in the Quarters, but if he gets to the semi’s it will be either Djokovic or Del Potro, who will surely bring out his worst, or hopefully his best, I’m not a Federer fan, but I want to see him at his sharpest.


Von Says:

Steve: Forget about DelPotro being a challenge to Federer. Unless DelPotro has changed his mind-set since the last time he faced Federer, which hopefully he has, we’ll see him just disintegrating again, same goes for Tsonga v. Federer.

I too, would like to see Federer challenged by more high quality opponents to see exactly where his game stands. Both Karlovic and Step are in a slump, so it’s kind of difficult to appraise Fed’s game. It’s easy for any player to appear magnificent or absolutely in charge when facing a lesser opponent. The real test and showing of mettle is seen when there’s equality in the competition.
__________________
Kimmi:

The Tennis Channel re-aired the Step v. Fed match since I last posted and Step’s lethargy was even more pronounced to me watching the match a second time. His foot-work and timing was waaay off and was unable to challenge Federer in his goundies. Those volleys Step wowed us with at the beginning of this year are a thing of the past; he was a mere shadow of his former self.


zola Says:

check this out:

Rafael Nadal joins American golfer Tiger Woods and Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao as the only athletes on Time magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people. Nadal is featured in the “Heroes & Icons” category.

The tribute to the Spaniard in this week’s ‘Time 100′ issue is written by Serena Williams, who says, “I want to be like him… What makes him so good? I think it’s that he’s the hardest worker… you don’t just wake up and — bam! — you’re No. 1. It takes work, effort, desire, dedication — all qualities that Rafa has. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am far off.”

http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1894410_1894289_1894269,00.html


zola Says:

oops, the original news is taken from here:

http://www.tennis.com/news/ticker.aspx


ertorque Says:

Steve: I watched a little bit of Mischa and Simon match yesterday and would say Mischa is the type of player that would give Fed the test we’ve been waiting.
Had Simon won that match, I think he too would have been a good opponent for Fed given the poor H2H he had against Simon


Ra Says:

jane and duro,

look at your boy go…


jane Says:

Yahoo! Good job Novak!!

(hello Ra)

zola- that trophy Rafa is holding in that picture looks like it could truly injure him – yikes, better not drop it! Maybe that’s the only way he can be stopped on clay. haha. What’s amazing is that Rafa worked so hard, in particular, to dethrone Federer, to find ways to stop one of the most dominant players I’ve ever watched; Rafa never gave up.


jane Says:

As i asked yesterday, from whence did Zverev come? I’d not heard of him before this tournament, but he plays well. This is a nice match between him and Federer so far. Fed’s definitely serving better today.


Ra Says:

(hi jane)

Zverev’s game is kind of a breath of fresh air.

It’s good to see Federer getting some more 1st serves in, but he’s going to have to reign in those long balls if he’s gonna make it through this one.


Ra Says:

Can someone tell me why lets exist? I’ve never understood that; I really just don’t get it.


jane Says:

Zverev is really calm, and his serve is a weapon; he’s got that lefty thing going on. He is also good at the net, which with the serve is a great combination. He’s a decent challenge for Roger today, but it’s the third player Roger’s played who tries to shorten the points: first Karlovic, then Stepanek, and now this guy. Fed hasn’t faced a player who likes the longer rallies yet,which seems kind of strange on clay.


zola Says:

Jane
I think it weighs 16 kg ( someone wrote in another blog). I have seen Rafa’s pics from 2005, when he struggled to lift it. But after 5 years, it doesn’t seem to get easier!

Wow! straights set win for Djoko against Del Potro. I think he is playing really well in this tournament. It will be very interesting he plays semis with Federer.

I am watching Fed-Zverev. Interesting match. federer seems to be serving very well, but Zverev is not deterred. Very patient. right now 6-5 Federer. I don’t think he has enough to take the set or the match from Federer.


zola Says:

Zverev needs to keep his calm. He cannot donate points in a tie-break!

Djoko’s coach is watching the match. 5-3 Federer.

With Djoko’s form, Federer will not have an easy semi.


Ra Says:

Welcome to the party, zola.

Well, it seems that Zverev may be doing just enough to wake Federer up. I wonder if Zverev will keep the 2nd competitive or if Federer will run away with it.


Ra Says:

Finally… I’ve been waiting for that lob all match.


zola Says:

Hi Ra,
Federer seems to be playing really well and his serve is back.

Yes, will be interesting to see if Zverev would stay or go away. I saw that with Fognini against Murray and other players. Once he loses the first set, the match is gone.

Fed is now up a set and a break. I think that’s the match.


jane Says:

Fed seems to have the match in his pocket now; Zverev is not much of a returner. That’s an area on which he should work, as well as second serves.


Ra Says:

Yeah, the second set is unfolding somewhat typically for this kind of match (meaning a qualifier losing a tight first set to a seed). Even so, Federer is now looking more in control of his own game than I’ve seen in a little while.


zola Says:

Zverev going away quickly. Fed seems to have his game back, but the real test will come tomorrow.


Ra Says:

jane, I hear you about Zverev’s room for improvement. I don’t know anything about him. For example, has he been generally healthy or injury prone? He seems to me to have loads of potential. And at 6’3″ I’d think it shouldn’t be out of reach for him to develop more pace on his serve and am improved return. He’s strong, moves well, and has incredible composure as well as nice feel especially at net.


Ra Says:

Heck, one less gold chain and that first set might have been his…


Ra Says:

Federer’s still struggling to convert break, set, and match points. He’s going to have to do better with those tomorrow to have a chance against Novak tomorrow. Until today’s performance, though, I wouldn’t have thought he’d have much of a chance against Novak either way.


jane Says:

lol about the gold chains Ra; maybe he raps in his spare time? Fed did well to hold off a talented player and his serve looks to be firing. Novak will have his hands full with an on form Federer.


Ra Says:

jane,

did you hear the comments about him looking like Matthew McConaughey and Vince Spadea? One of the commentators said “as long as he doesn’t start rapping…”.

Novak looked really good to me in the first set today. Then I thought JMDP picked up his game a bit in the second and Novak just did enough to win. Honestly that 2nd set kind of bored me, though, and my attention faltered a bit.

By the way, this is the first tournament where I haven’t wondered if Djokovic is still struggling with the new racquet.


Ra Says:

All in all, it looks to me like the “Quad Squad” has quite a lock on the field right now even with their (if Rafa’s recent loss to JMDP can be called one) occasional lapses. I know that I’m kind of restating the obvious in saying that, but I seriously didn’t think any one of them was looking all that impressive (though some had been more consistent than others) going into the clay season.


jane Says:

No I didn’t hear that Ra – funny. And he does look a little like Matthew McConaughey come to think of it. I wonder if he could be a force on the grass. I keep expecting Tsonga to break through at Wimbledon, actually, with his serve and his touch at the net; he should be a contender there.


Ra Says:

Oh boy, Tabasco drops serve and then breaks Nadal at love.. Can he give us a 3 set match?


zola Says:

pheww……….Rafa holds!


zola Says:

this is really good tennis from Rafa and Verdasco.


andrea Says:

hhmmmm. 3/3. looking good.

i don’t know about anyone else but i love watching clay court matches. the sliding and the good ralleys. really makes for a different experience.


Ra Says:

zola,

yeah it is. wow.

jane,

I know, and Tsonga is such a pleasure to watch when he plays at a high level. I think he’s just had such a tough time finding it consistently between injuries and the fact that his game is so fueled by passion and inspiration – two things that are so very fleeting and even more so when drawn from external sources (which his often seem to be) such as the spectators.


zola Says:

andrea,
I love watching clay too. I love the sliding and the fact that you can see how the points are constructed.

Rafa with a break. I don’t know how he did it. Verdasco is playing so good. I think he is too fast. Takes the ball early and takes time off Rafa’s shots. His forehand is also very powerful. One winner down the line was 166 km/h.

Ra,
I read somewhere ( perhaps here) that Tsonga’s size is a liability for him. He needs to lose some weight and cut down on the energy he spends on court. I like his volleys. I think the match against Rafa in AO was one of his best.


Ra Says:

andrea,

I’m with you on the clay court experience. Actually, outdoor hard court is probably my least favorite even though there is variety between surfaces there; I prefer clay, grass, or indoor hard/carpet, really.


Ra Says:

zola,

yeah, I bet; he’s not exactly light even though he can move as though he is. And, yeah, that was an awesome match and run in general. He seemed both physically and emotionally taxed by the final, though.

OK, at 6-3 we appear to be back to our regularly scheduled program.


zola Says:

pooff……..Rafa with the first set. Seriously the score does not do justice to the match. Verdaco played really well ( and so did Rafa!)…
Come on Rafa!


jane Says:

I like watching clay matches too, but one draw back to me is that it’s difficult sometimes to see the ball on t.v.. Frankly, I like watching all surfaces, and all tennis, as long as the matches are good.The grass season is much too short though; more grass please!!!!


Ra Says:

Verdasco’s increasingly got that “rough day at the office” look.


jane Says:

Rafa was at 76% first serves in that first set, whereas Verdasco dropped down to 67% and had 3 doubles, so that may’ve played a role in the outcome, that and Rafa’s immense skill on clay.


zola Says:

oh yes! more grass please! I was arguing last year that they should make Hamburg a grass masters.

verdasco isn’t going away. A tough match for Rafa!


Ra Says:

“that and Rafa’s immense skill on clay.” Yeah, let’s not forget about that part.


I like tennis bullies Says:

djokovic to tussel fed up like a turkey, cut his head off and deep fry him.
bet on it.


zola Says:

Verdasco’s forehands are really powerful. He is becoming a mixture of Nalby and Gonzo!


Ra Says:

Totally, more grass please! Are there any fans actually against that idea? I can’t imagine it’s a huge portion. Good call re Hamburg, zola. I remember that discussion and fully support the idea (not that my support of it even remotely counts for anything, but still).


Ra Says:

I like tennis bullies,

I will bet you anything that Federer leaves the court with his head still attached and with no more frying than a possible mild sunburn. But yeah, I’m not exactly banking on him making it through to the final.


jane Says:

There should be AT LEAST one grass Masters series event.

zola, Verdasco’s forehand has *always* been a weapon, though of late it’s firing more consistently and more accurately. It’s nice to see him fighting it out as he was wont to wilt in the past.


zola Says:

If I was an ATP playr, I would have taped this match and studied it. Verdasco’s play is brilliant. He is so quick and so powerful.

It is a great match for Rafa, because I bet many players will start using this tactic against Rafa and he needs to be prepared.


zola Says:

Jane,
I don’t remember 166 km/h forehand down the line from Verdasco. Maybe I did not watch him enough.


Ra Says:

zola,

I’m not convinced that many players don’t already try to play like this against Rafa. It’s just that most aren’t as strong, quick and talented as Verdasco and are not left-handed either.


zola Says:

OH MY GOD!
what a point from RAfa to take the game! 2-1!


zola Says:

Ra,
do you think being lefty is a big factor?


jane Says:

Well that’s a wicked one for sure zola, but his forehand has always been great; I remember watching him against Roddick at the USO years back, maybe 2006, and thinking – wow! But he has had confidence issues, and maybe even fitness ones, as his work with Reyes seems to be paying off this year, and that big DC win showed him he can do it. Verdasco is another guy who can play really well on grass, come to think of it, on all surfaces, which is really what it takes these days. He almost won at Nottingham, and imo he should’ve but he lost in a third set tiebreak to Dr. Ivo, and then he played a humdinger of a round of 16 match at Wimbledon against Ancic, which went further than the distance – 11-13 in the 5th! So he has lots more he could show us this year; let’s hope he brings it.


jane Says:

Well that’s a wicked one for sure zola, but his forehand has always been great; I remember watching him against Roddick at the USO years back, maybe 2006, and thinking – wow! But he has had confidence issues, and maybe even fitness ones, as his work with Reyes seems to be paying off this year, and that big DC win showed him he can do it. Verdasco is another guy who can play really well on grass, come to think of it, on all surfaces, which is really what it takes these days. He almost won at Nottingham, and imo he should’ve but he lost in a third set tiebreak to Dr. Ivo, and then he played a humdinger of a round of 16 match at Wimbledon against Ancic, which went further than the distance – 11-13 in the 5th! So he has lots more he could show us this year; let’s hope he brings it.


jane Says:

Why’d that post twice? Sorry peeps.


jane Says:

Too many doubles for Tobasco though; he’s up to 4 now.


Ra Says:

zola,

I do think that being lefty is at least sometimes a factor, but I don’t think it is as big a factor as a guy named Rafael Nadal.


jane Says:

The thing with Nadal being a lefty is, well, he’s not. In truth, he’s ambidextrous and surely this ambidexterity is a factor in making him so brutally strong off both sides. That, and his immense clay abilities. :)


zola Says:

oh man!
lost 1 pound during that game! Rafa holds!


Ra Says:

jane,

Idunno. In an interview this year (I wish I could remember when this year), Nadal played down the whole thing about “becoming” a lefty. One could argue that all lefties are at least somewhat ambidextrous just because they’ve had to learn to be to exist in this world. In any case, he plays lefty and his left arm (biceps, at least)looks to be around 50% bigger than his right.


Ra Says:

Hot sauce on that forehand!


zola Says:

Yes, I think with Verdasco, his forehand and speed has been more effective. Maybe his forehand to Rafa’s forehand makes it more dangerous. He hasn’t had any aces, so perhaps it does not make a big difference in his serve.

what a forehand from Verdasco!


zola Says:

Oh man! I have to leave in a bit. Come on Rafa!


zola Says:

Ra,
I think Verdasco is a natural lefty, but Rafa is a righty who plays tennis ( and soccer) as lefty, but plays Golf as a righty!

that gives him perhaps a bit more strength with his double handed backhand, but some liability with his serve.

About his backhand, Federer said, it is as if he has two forehands!


Ra Says:

Oh, I found it, but maybe it supports what you said about him being ambidextrous more than not.

“March 15, 2009

Rafael Nadal

INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA

RAFAEL NADAL/M. Berrer
6-2, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You were in such a unique position to be the only player in history who is naturally a right-hander to switch to lefty. What kind of advantage to you think that gives you?
RAFAEL NADAL: That’s not exactly true, yeah, because I play football with the left foot, too. I don’t know. For some things right; for another things the left.
I don’t know if that can help me a lot. “


zola Says:

Ra,
how on earth did you find that piece of interview?
great one!

54 unforced errors between the two. Come on Rafa, we have things to do!


Ra Says:

zola,

Yeah, I remember that comment regarding two forehands.

I also found this:

“February 1, 2009

Rafael Nadal

MELBOURNE, VICTORIA

R. NADAL/R. Federer
7-5, 3-6, 7-6, 3-6, 6-3

Q. You saved 13 breakpoints. I mentioned it to Federer. He said, I wish I was a lefty. Do you think it’s an advantage to be a lefty? Also, have you ever wished to be right-handed in some situations?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I happy with myself, no (smiling)? Is okay.

Q. The first part?
RAFAEL NADAL: The first part? Well, depends against who you play. I think for play against Roger is a little bit easier if you are lefty, no, because if you are righty, is very tough to play against his forehand all the time. Well, against his backhand is very tough, too. But, well, al menos you have the forehand, no?


jane Says:

I still think the righty – lefty thing makes Rafa stronger, no matter what he says.

Well there’s a 5th double fault from Tobasco and the match.

Was there ever any doubt? Not from this end.


zola Says:

Ra,
another great find!
Yes, I think Rafa saw how most of righties faired against Federer’s forehand and he has always rated Federer’s forehand as the “best”

something happened to Verdasco’s knee? Come on Nando!
He seems to be in lots of pain. doesn’t look good.

Anyway, I have to leave. thanks for the lovely chat.


Ra Says:

This match got kind of bizarro… but Nadal in straights; shocking.

One of the reasons I think it makes a difference, though, is because it seems to me that if someone can hit a forehand hard and keep it on the court, it’s a legitimate weapon; whereas look how exceptional someone’s backhand has to be in order for it to really be a legitimate weapon. And, yes, that argument works both ways; but since most matches are played against righties, conditioning (psychological not endurance) comes into play too. In any case, it still seems to me to factor in, and that can be seen very clearly in boxing and other sports too. However, Right-handed people that try to train themselves to be lefties usually do not meet with success.


Ra Says:

Bye zola, and thank you too.

jane,

“I still think the righty – lefty thing makes Rafa stronger, no matter what he says.”

I fully agree.

Ok, I’ve gotta go too. I hope to make it back for Monaco vs Gonzo…

Take care, all.


jane Says:

Yep bye all – nice talking tennis with you.


Ra Says:

zola,

to answer your earlier question of “how on earth did you find that piece of interview?”:

I went to asapsports.com, selected “Tennis”, “N” for Nadal, “Nadal”, and then scanned interviews starting this year (because I knew it was this year, and I recalled that it had been at least a few months since I’d read it so it was probably either from the AO or just after). But yeah, if you don’t already know about asapsports.com, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.


Von Says:

Well, the Verdasco v. Nadal match certainly did not live up to expectations, and according to the commentators, they played at a “snail’s pace”. I think the umpires have given up on calling time violations for Nadal. The entire tournament he has gone over the limit numerous times and I’ve yet to hear one umpire mention anything. Today, Nadal wasted at least 15 seconds each time he collected the balls to serve and that plus his usual pant picking and hair routine was waaay over the time allowed, but I suppose he is Nadal and is entitled to liberties the other players aren’t.

On the whole, the match lacked energy. There were very few outright winers from Nadal, only six (6) and 21 errors, as opposed to 20 winners and 40+ UEs from Verdasco, and yet Nadal won. However, it was very obvious that Verdasco was playing with a tremendous amount of pain and I give him kudos for hanging in there and not retiring.


Von Says:

I enjoyed the first set in the Fed v. Zverev match, and Zverev played exactly how I’d like to see more opponents play against Federer, and that is forget he is Federer and just go for their shots, play their own game, and within themselves.

Zverev is a natural for clay and I hope he keeps on improving. He definitely knows how to move on clay by sliding into the ball and not lunging forward; his slides can be heard on TV with a definitely discernible crispness. It’s amazing how differently he plays on clay as opposed to hardcourt. I’ve seen him play in the past only on hardcourt and I think he should make clay his specialty, because he is definitely a natural for the red stuff.

_______________
jane: I agree with you verdasco’s FH is definitely a weapon and to be precise, it is considered his main weapon. Now that he has spiced up his footwork, that plus his FH has absolutely made him more competitive.

I think of all the players who advanced to the QFs, he had the toughest path, and it’s a pity he had to face Nadal en route to the SFs, or else he most probabaly would have gotten to the SFs. I also think that all the tennis he’s been playing has caught up to him and he’s now having patella problems. Tough luck considering the FO is just weeks away.

I think


jane Says:

Von, I’d never heard of or noticed Zverev before this event; you noted that you’d seen him before on hardcourts: interesting. I also think it’s interesting that you find him to be most suited to clay. I’d noted earlier that with his serve and touch at net, I’d almost see him as a threat on “faster” surfaces, esp., grass, but I was thinking hardcourt too. However, you’re points make me wonder. Hmmm. Anyhow, will have to keep my eye out for him.

Yes, that is tough luck for Verdasco; hopefully he can rest up and get better.

Does anyone know when Monaco / Gonza is? I thought it’d be on now but it’s not.


Skorocel Says:

Hello Von! Pretty much agree with you, but to be fair to Nadal, he did win this one fair and square – and it WASN’T because of Vercasco’s injury… Those “astonishing” 6 winners from Nadal, well, I don’t wanna talk about that (to be honest, even Fed at his absolute worst would have managed more, be it clay or forest), but anyway, what I want to say is that the true effects of Verdasco’s knee problem firstly surfaced when the match was already over (I guess it happened in the penultimate game, where at 15 all, Verdasco made that fatal mistake which eventually allowed Nadal to get back in the point and win it; and which really is the only thing Nadal needed to put that final nail in Verdasco’s coffin)… Up until that point, “Hot Sauce” was moving fairly well, without any serious limitations…

Anyway, it’s a pity, because the guy certainly HAD a shot! But ya know, those points like that one at 2-2 in the first (Nadal serving and trailing 15-30), ya simply GOTTA make them against the Spaniard! Ya simply GOTTA be relentless in those cases, period! Tough to say what would’ve happened had Verdasco made that volley, but still, 30 all instead of 15-40 is a BIG difference, isn’t it?

Anyhow, it’s really amazing how long does it take for someone to finish a match which lasted no more than 18 games, isn’t it? Really, you could make a coffee or two and still see those two guys ONLY PREPARING for their serves :-) Amwazing!


Von Says:

Jane;

Monaco and Gonzo are about to take the court in a couple of minutes.

Maybe Zverev will do well on grass too , but i’ve only seen him play on hardcourts and clay. I would suspect grass would also be a favorable surface for him since it also has that sliding advantage similar to clay.

Enjoy the Gonzo/Monaco match. I know we’ll definitely see more action from Gonzo, ripping his nuclear forehands.


jane Says:

Thanks Von – I was kind of hoping this one would be a thrilling 3 setter, but then I thought of the poor winner skulking tiredly onto the court tomorrow to face none other than Rafa – poor soul. Oh well, let em rip and may the best man win.


Von Says:

Skorocel:

“Anyhow, it’s really amazing how long does it take for someone to finish a match which lasted no more than 18 games, isn’t it? Really, you could make a coffee or two and still see those two guys ONLY PREPARING for their serves :-) Amwazing!”

I think you know my views on the amount of time Nadal’s matches last and it’s one of the reasons I don’t like to watch — no need for me to write it again. I blame the umpires for their lack of diligence with respect to the abuse of the time rule.

I’m not saying that Verdasco would have won the match. My point is the obvious pain he played with and continued where others might have thrown in the towel because he was losing by a set and a break. I like his fighting spirit.


Andrew Miller Says:

Is Federer too good at what he does, to improve? I wonder because, in every match, it must be tempting to do what he’s always done to win, rather than try new combinations of shots or strategies and risk “learning lessons”. If learning a new way of playing is the equivalent of learning a new language, and the old way of playing handles the environment “more than fine”, then it must be awfully tempting to use the old ways to win new matches.


Von Says:

Federer says he does not practice to improve on his game. I suppose he’s comfortable and confident that he’ll win and probably feels why bother changing that which isn’t broken. You know the saying: “If it ain’t broke, why fix it”. However, I wonder if he realizes that it is broken, hence it needs fixing. Only time will tell …..


Skorocel Says:

As for the Zverev vs Fed match, I guess Fed played very well from the baseline (the same for his match vs Step), but really poorly on those setpoints! I guess it was the 2nd setpoint (Zverev serving at 4-5, trailing 30-40) where Fed had an absolutely perfect chance to pass him with his once mighty FH – but he missed… Trust me, that REALLY made me angry! :-)

Anyway, Zverev as a natural claycourter? Well, I’ve never seen him play before, so I can’t comment, but to be honest, he didn’t surprise me with anything… Ya know, it’s maybe nice to play an attacking game – be it against Fed or someone else, but when you don’t have the appropriate volleys (and moreover, the appropriate approach shots), then it’s very difficult to apply such strategy these days… I mean, some of Mischa’s shots were indeed brave, but many times, he went to the net totally unprepared – and ya know it doesn’t take too long for Fed to figure this out… I mean, no matter how poorly the Swiss plays, he just loves that target on the net – just ask A-Rod… In other words, it was only a matter of time when Fed would start hitting passing winners of those weak approaches… Who knows, maybe it has something to do with the fact that the Russian-German appeared a bit tired (I guess we’ll both concur that there were some shots where he INDEED looked a bit slow), but anyway, to give you an honest opinion, he didn’t surprise me with anything…


sensationalsafin Says:

What exactly does Federer need to fix? Is he doing something weird with his forehand? Not using enough wrist in the backhand? Not enough knee bend on the serve? I don’t think so. Technique-wise, Fed’s sound. His head needs fixing. You can’t expect him to switch to a 2 handed backhand or anything like that. His brain is in a funk. You can’t really fix that on a tennis court.


jane Says:

sensationalsafin: one thing I’d venture about Fed’s game this season is that his serve has been awfully inconsistent; now this may be because of his back injury as Ra as suspect in past conversations we’ve had, but in any case, his first to matches here were par for the course: the first one his service percentage was in the 50s and the second one with Step it was even worse, high 30s to mid 40s. Today he maintained a better percentage finishing at around mid-60s. So I’d say he needs to try to serve more consistently well; that’s one thing he could fix. But he’ll no doubt be a huge challenge to Djokovic tomorrow, and given the big occasion, I wonder if Roger doesn’t have the edge in this encounter; certainly their H2H would suggest as such. We’ll see. I know you want a classic, but on the other hand, whoever comes out of a grueling encounter will have a much more grueling Rafa-encounter in the cards, I am assuming. :)


jane Says:

“as Ra as suspect ” s/b as Ra had suspected – sheesh sorry to turn you into a “suspect” Ra, lol. Must cut nails!


MMT Says:

Wiki says Zverev has one 4 ITF tournaments, on 3 surfaces no less. And before you “poo-poo” the ITF circuit, he did be Turunov and Wayne Odesnik – not the creme of the crop, but no slouches either. And anyone who can win 4 professional tournaments, no matter how small they are, is still winning tournaments.

I have to admit that I’d never heard of the guy before Rome this year, and I am pleasantly surprised with his results. He did be Gilles Simon, after all, who despite his current “funk” is still a top 10 player (currently) with 2 wins over Federer – that’s nothing to shake a stick at.


jane Says:

I’m sorry Roger, but no one hurls and breaks his racquet quite like Gonzales! ;-)


jane Says:

Gotta say, much as Gonza worked for and deserved that break, I was rooting for Monaco; he’s played a great tournament and I’d've liked to see how he’d match up with Rafa. In any case, a good match between two fighters so far.


Kimmi Says:

Now Now Now ! This match between fed and djoker, what can really happen ? Almost everybody have been commenting how bad Fed has been playing, even after reaching the semi..people still are having doubts. Even the bookies says Nole is a slight favourite. I think for Fed this match will either break him or make him.

Hope he wins.


zola Says:

Ra

***I went to asapsports.com, selected “Tennis”, “N” for Nadal, “Nadal”, and then scanned interviews starting this year (because I knew it was this year, and I recalled that it had been at least a few months since I’d read it so it was probably either from the AO or just after). But yeah, if you don’t already know about asapsports.com, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
***

Wow!
The way you narrowed it down is very methodical! great work! I know asapsports, but I don’t know if I can find an interview from a quote like you did. If I know the approximate date, maybe!

******
I missed Gonzo/Monaco match. Did another racquet get abused?
So a repeat of Barcelona semi for Rafa. Oh man!

Kimmi,
I agree. Tomorrow’s match is very important for Roger. A win will boost his confidence and a loss can shake it even more. For Djoko, he has played really well since MC. He wants to defend his title and his ranking.
So a very interesting match and to me it is 55-45 to Djoko.


Kimmi Says:

“So a repeat of Barcelona semi for Rafa. Oh man!”
Zola, Nadal never played gonzo in Barcelona.

I am sure Nadal knows not to go to the forehand. He missed gonzo in Barcelona but found him here. I just hope it is a match, i think Rafa deserve a difficult one a little bit.


zola Says:

Kimmi,

***“So a repeat of Barcelona semi for Rafa. Oh man!”
Zola, Nadal never played gonzo in Barcelona.****

You are right Kimmi! He played Davydenko! Signs of old age!

Well, it is not going to be an easy match.

***i think Rafa deserve a difficult one a little bit.***

did you watch today’s match with verdasco? I think that was a bit tough.

Anyway, if Rafa can win tomorrow, the final will not be easy at all. either Djoko or Federer, it will be a very hard match. But good practice for Rafa ahead of RG.


Kimmi Says:

I don’t understand difficult matches that are won 6-1 6-0 or 6-3 6-3, straight set, never in trouble. As much as Rafa says “was a very difficult match”, we all know he knew he had it in the bag

Gonzo can be explosive but it all depends if they go in. It could easily be another easy.. ooops I mean easy on score but difficult for Rafa.


zola Says:

Kimmi,
It was difficult because Verdasco had lots of chances to break Rafa. Sometimes the score doesn’t reflect how the match was played. It lasted about two hours.

I hope it is an easy match for Rafa! If he wins he will need all his energy for the final.


zola Says:

Tomorrow’s order of play:

1:30 pm Rome (7:30 ET)
Novak DJOKOVIC (SRB)
vs
Roger FEDERER (SUI)

4:00 pm Rome (10:00 am ET)
Rafael NADAL (ESP)
vs
Fernando GONZALEZ (CHI)

I hope I can wake up for the first one.


Von Says:

today Gonzo’s FH was clocked at 198 kph. WOW, what a nuclear rocket that guy has for a FH.
_____________
Kimmi:

I think Gonzo was a finalist in Rome a couple of years ago, ’07 to be precise. He didn’t defend both his ’07 AO finalist and ’07 rome finalist points and that’s what “done” him in, as Eliza would say.

speaking of Eliza, where’s Marogt and Tenisbebe? I miss you both.

Margot, grieve no more, Andy M. will return, per Fu man Chu, “I will return”, more energized than previously. I had expected him to run out of steam sometime, and it’s best he did it when he didn’t have any points to defend. I’m not trying to make excuses for him, but I honestly feel he’s still suffering from the after-effects of the virus that’s plagued him since the AO.


Kimmi Says:

To have break chances does not make it a difficult match, Verdasco did not capitalize them. Once Rafa held his serve he would relax again. Difficult matches for Rafa was when the opponent break him several times and then holding their serve, then you can see him really panic.

Anyway, I commend Rafa, he is doing very good. He has 80/20 chance of winning this tournament, continuing to make history.. incredible achivements.


zola Says:

Kimmi,

****Anyway, I commend Rafa, he is doing very good. He has 80/20 chance of winning this tournament, continuing to make history.. incredible achivements.****

well, we never know. Gonzo has a great forehand and Djoko/Fed are not easy opponents. But it will be incredible if it happens ( and I will buy you a virtual drink !)

Sean,
are you going to give us a preview of tomorrow’s semis? What is your opinion of Djoko-Fed match?


Von Says:

Kimmi:

I also don’t understand when the players say their match was a tough one even though they won each set by two breaks. I’m supposing that by “tough” they mean they had to fight off some break points, but that’s how they break the other guy’s serve isn’t it? When it’s the reverse and they have to fight off going to deuce six (6) times for their own service games, then that’s difficult and tough for them to have to fight so hard to keep from being broken. I think some of them say the “tough” stuff because they want it to appear as though they had to fight very hard for the “W” which didn’t come easy, and lull their opponent into thinking that the opponent played a very tough match. It’s all part of the gamesmanship semantics the players engage in at times.


Kimmi Says:

“today Gonzo’s FH was clocked at 198 kph. WOW, what a nuclear rocket that guy has for a FH”

It actually went in, thats some FH for sure.
Now, if he find few more like tomorrow then he can make it interesting. I like when he tries to run around his BH everytime he gets a chance. I am sure the Clay King will make sure the FH does not see the ball much.

Why some people call Murray boring defensive player while Nadal today manage 6 winners ? sheesh !


zola Says:

Kimmi,
Did you watch today’s match between Rafa and Verdasco?

Verdasco was playing very aggressively, pushing Rafa to the back of the court. I don’t think he had many short balls and I guess that style of play pushed Rafa to play defensively.

I think those who like aggressive players call the defensive ones boring, just because it is not the style they like. I call Murray’s style “smart”. he is very patient. he has all the weapons, but uses them when needed. Rafa does the same. he comes to the net or plays a winner at the best possible moment.


zola Says:

Murray is doing much better on clay this year than before and he is developing his game very fast. In a year or two, I think he will translate his hard court game to clay and that will make the life difficult for many players.

Rafa thinks Andy can win the FO and I think his prediction will come true very soon.


Von Says:

Kimmi: “Why some people call Murray boring defensive player while Nadal today manage 6 winners ? sheesh !”

To each his/her own. Nadal is a defensive player, and I don’t enjoy his matches because they are so drawn out. It’s agonizing to watch him play with the histrionics/semantics. Even though Murray plays defensive he doesn’t engage in the antics as nadal, which makes his matches a lot more interesting to me because of that single most important detail. I suppose I’m an impatient on-looker.

I don’t hold much hope for Gonzo, he had to fight very hard against Monaco, for whom I was rooting BTW, but I’ll take Gonzo despite Monaco’s loss. I hope Gonzo goes in with a fighting mentality tomorrow. Watch his eyes; if they begin to open up BIG, it means he really wants to win. Ha, ha, funny but true.


zola Says:

what would have happened if someone picked on Roddick so many times? So many hateful and bitter comments!

I think rage is eating someone from insde!


Kimmi Says:

Von.”Watch his eyes; if they begin to open up BIG, it means he really wants to win.”

Ha ha, will remember that. Murray, the moment I saw him play in american summer hard court last year, fell in love straight away.

Zola:Did not watch the match, was only watching the live score and was secretly hoping for vedarsco to pull it off. While deep down I knew there could be only one winner. Just like tommorow I will hope with all hopes for Federer to rise again.

What a frustrating life to be a tennis fan ??


clay court god Says:

nadal plays the way tennis should be played in the 21st century, defensive tennis with mental superiority. i find most boring are those american jokes playing tennis, bunch of talentless nobodies. esp. that queer boy sam and duck and that mindless, brainlessa and clueless ballbasher blake. nadal is king, his style is king and the rest are racist haters due to him being non-english speaking. since most english speaking nations are absolute racists, they cannot stand the fact that rafa a non-english speaker is winning.


zola Says:

Kimmi,
just to clarify, I am not talking about your comments.I replied to your comment on Rafa’s defensive play @ 8:57 pm and it is perfectly allright to discuss it because I know you have no ill intentions.

btw,
I forgot to write that Andy (Murray) will perhaps be more successful in Madrid. he will have more rest and the altitude will be good for his game. I think he will then silence all those who find his style “boring”.


sensationalsafin Says:

I have a theory that people would have longer lifespans if they weren’t sports fans in general.


zola Says:

Kimmi,
***Zola:Did not watch the match, was only watching the live score and was secretly hoping for vedarsco to pull it off. While deep down I knew there could be only one winner. Just like tommorow I will hope with all hopes for Federer to rise again.

What a frustrating life to be a tennis fan ??***

Oh I know! and it goes on all year! different times of day or night! not an easy life!


Kimmi Says:

Zola: Just an advice. Don’t worry what anyone says about Rafa. Whatever people say, Rafa is beating the hell out of everybody.. so you should enjoy him while he is up there. He is the best player in the wold by a country mile.

If anyone don’t like him…TOUGH !! But he is winning anyway. That would have been my mentality if I was the Rafa fan.

Can’t wait for tomorrow matches, did not watch any matches during the week so I just can’t wait.


zola Says:

sensationalsafin
***I have a theory that people would have longer lifespans if they weren’t sports fans in general.***

interesting theory, but I think it depends on people. For those who let their rage get a hold of them, yes, a heart attack is imminent, but for some it is a peaceful place to retreat after a long day and forget about economy, war, whatever….and I think being a fan might help them.


zola Says:

Kimmi,
***Zola: Just an advice. Don’t worry what anyone says about Rafa. Whatever people say, Rafa is beating the hell out of everybody.. so you should enjoy him while he is up there. He is the best player in the wold by a country mile.
***

I will. You are right. Just at times it becomes tiring. But I will take your advice.

I need to go now. dinner time!
see you all later!


Von Says:

Peck, peck, peck!! Shall I leave again so her majesty can have the blog all to herself? I speak the truth and if you don’t like it too bad.

Kimmi: “That would have been my mentality if I was the Rafa fan.”

Yet, you become very angry when anyone says anything about Federer. I don’t think you should give advice when you openly want Nadal to be beaten by everyone so his domination should end. You can’t play friend and foe. I like sensationalsafin, he says it like it is, he hates Nadal, period.


Kimmi Says:

Von, to give advice does not mean I am trying to be a friend and foe: I take that advice for myself too. Out here there are fans of several players and if one is uptight about everything that is said about his/her favourite player then one can never enjoy life in these tennis forums.

its true Rafa is winning everything so why worry ! I have learnt the hard way its best to chill out even on these difficult federer times. I am having fun and i hope you do to.


Kimmi Says:

Just for your record, I don’t hate Nadal, wanting somebody to beat him does not mean hate. I admire his tenecity and never say die attitude. he is a nice young man, but I am just a fan of ither players.

Yes I get frustrated and wishing somebody else beat him but i also understand one needs to be objective, by hating him I don’t think it will help me either. I will get a heart attack soon as I know he is not finishing soon yet.


Von Says:

Kimmi:

“I have learnt the hard way its best to chill out even on these difficult federer times. I am having fun and i hope you do to.”

I come here for fun too, but some come to let out their madness. They talk and transpose their rage and hate onto others. Speaking the truth does not mean someone has rage or hates a player. It’s simply airing my observations but it seems that only some are entitled. I’m entitled to respond to your post with respect to Nadal’s 6 winners and his defensive play, while comparing Murray, so what’s the big deal? If there’s hate then we can all see from where it’s emanating — peck, peck.


Von Says:

Kimmi: “Out here there are fans of several players and if one is uptight about everything that is said about his/her favourite player then one can never enjoy life in these tennis forums.”

OK let’s see how that bit of wisdom will be embraced — I’m curious.


Kimmi Says:

Von “Jankovic got beaten again by penetta. too bad.”

Yeah follow the score of this one. After a win with Sabine Lisciki yesterday, Jankovic said she is now finding her game and she feels like she is starting to feel comfortable on the court again. I guess now its back to square one.


Kimmi Says:

Von, if anyone says something about my favorite player that I don’t agree..I just put my points forward thats all !!

Federer will get a lot of bashing tommorow if he loses anyway…ready for it.


Von Says:

“nadal plays the way tennis should be played in the 21st century, defensive tennis with mental superiority. i find most boring are those american jokes playing tennis, bunch of talentless nobodies. esp. that queer boy sam and duck and that mindless, brainlessa and clueless ballbasher blake. nadal is king, his style is king and the rest are racist haters due to him being non-english speaking. since most english speaking nations are absolute racists, they cannot stand the fact that rafa a non-english speaker is winning.”

Well, this should be enough satisfaction to last a lifetime. Another new alias, luv/ carry on, it’s fun isn’t it?


Von Says:

Kimmi:

“Von, if anyone says something about my favorite player that I don’t agree..I just put my points forward thats all !!

“Federer will get a lot of bashing tommorow if he loses anyway…ready for it.”

Inasmuch as I like interacting with you, our discussions spark jealousy, yes, jealousy big time, because there’s only ONE who should be the center of attention, and because of that there will always be problems and aspersions thrown my way. Hence, in the future, I hope you won’t mind if I don’t respond to your posts. Sorry, but I don’t need the needless abuse.


Kimmi Says:

OMG, that was not me, who said that ? But anyway does not matter, this person seem to be a Nadal fan. Everybody here has their opinion be good/bad/true/false, but if you think about it….not you or anyone else can stop this.


Von Says:

Kimmi: I think Jankovic and Penetta are a bad match-up, same with Venus Williams. Lisicki is one to watch. She has improved a lot since she played in the Hopman cup in January.


Von Says:

Kimmi: Look at the 9:24 pm post. No, it’s not you. You know what this is kid’s stuff, I need a breather.


Kimmi Says:

Ok Von, if you don’t like to respond to my post, thats fine with me. but i hope you won’t mind if i respond to yours because as i mentioned this before I like your posts and I think you are one of informative posters out here whether I agree with you or not but i definely enjoy reading them


JoshDragon Says:

Nadal, is going to win the tournament but I’m wondering who he will face in the finals. Either Federer or Djokovic. Fed’s played decently in Rome and I would be surprised if Djokovic demolishes him like he did in Miami.

At this point I’m picking Federer to win in 3 sets.


Nadal is the GOAT Says:

No one will ever beat King Rafa. It’s fantastic to have a Latin GOAT in the game of tennis. All Latins rock.

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