Cilic Crushes Nadal, Meets Djokovic for Beijing Title; Tsonga, Hewitt Reach Tokyo Final
by Sean Randall | October 10th, 2009, 10:31 am
  • 75 Comments

I didn’t watch the match in the overnight hours here in the U.S., but wow! Marin Cilic pounded on Rafael Nadal 6-1, 6-3 in the Beijing semifinals. For Cilic, easily one of his biggest and best career match wins.

“From the beginning of the match to end I didn’t let my level of play drop,” said Cilic.  “I was aggressive when I had to be. In the second set when he came back the match wasn’t easy, but I think I kept with what I did in the first set and the best thing was that I didn’t back off and I was just [as] stubborn with my style of play.”

Nadal, who had destroyed Marat Safin just a day earlier, was never in the match. Cilic raced out to a 5-0 first set lead and then broke right away in the second set to maintain control handing Rafa his first career loss in Beijing in 15 matches.

“He played well and it was very difficult to play for me,” said Nadal.  “I had a chance to come back in the match and I didn’t play very well. He didn’t serve that well. He gave me many chances to play and I was under pressure in the first game of the second set. I had a lot of pressure. I can do better next time. I must do.”

For Nadal it was also another bad loss. Since his return in July, Nadal’s last four defeats since have been lopsided, straight-setters. Warning sign? Maybe.

Is Cilic, who just beat Andy Murray a month ago at the US Open, ready to join the conversation at the top?

In the earlier semifinal No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic had no trouble with French Open finalist Robin Soderling, beating the Swede 6-3, 6-3.

“I’m very pleased,” said Djokovic. “You know I’ve been No. 3 for a while and Murray played well last eight months and got to No. 2 in the world. What makes best for me is that I deserve it.”

Djokovic has beaten Cilic in all three of their previous meetings, dropping just one of eight sets. Cilic, however, has never lost a tour final (3-0). That said, I’ll lean on Novak to win here.

In Tokyo, Jo Tsonga showed why he’s France’s premier player beating up on my man Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-3. Tsonga now gets Mikhail Youhzny in the final. The Russian ousted Lleyton Hewitt 6-3, 5-7, 7-5.

It’s encouraging to see Tsonga and Cilic stepping up and playing well down the homestretch of the year.

And in the women’s final in Beijing, what does a $6.6 million dollar women’s event in Asia yield? How about Svetlana Kuznetsova and Aggie Radwanksa. Maybe that’s a big draw in China but it’s probably not the marquee final the tournament investors had in mind when they plunked down big money for a big time tournament. But that’s the state of the WTA these days.


Also Check Out:
Nadal, Murray Collide For Tokyo Title; Berdych Battles Cilic In Beijing
Serena Williams Pulls Out Of Tokyo, Beijing Remains On Her Schedule
Nadal, Djokovic Near Beijing Showdown; Monfils, Tsonga Tangle in Tokyo
Djokovic Cruises In Beijing; Murray Meets Milos In Tokyo
Nadal v. Roanic Tonight In Tokyo; Murray Keeps Playing, Keeps Winning

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75 Comments for Cilic Crushes Nadal, Meets Djokovic for Beijing Title; Tsonga, Hewitt Reach Tokyo Final

Twocents Says:

Nothing against Cilic. But Djok for China Open.

Small consolation for his bad luck of falling on Fed’s side at USO.


i am it Says:

“Is Cilic, who just beat Andy Murray a month ago at the US Open, ready to join the conversation at the top?”

what does ‘the top’ mean here?
Top 10? absolutely. Top 5? not yet but could be there soon before we know it.
actually Cilic has been a top 10 stuff for a while now.

with emphatic wins over murray and rafa, his confidence has only grown, with that, desire to win more, too, so he could be sprinting inside top 10 by early next year and even higher later.

regardless of ranking, he is already one of the most feared players and will continue to cause upsets in regular basis. he is young, improving fast. confidence and desire can do miracles.

it’s beautiful to watch his well-rounded game. his game has all the ingredients: most importantly, he can play from baseline, inside the court and at the net. the only question is, can he play his best tennis match after match on a regular basis? one can only hope.


grendel Says:

sign of the times that I have no real feeling for who’ll come out on top. If pushed, I’d go for Djokovic – but no surprise if Cilic makes it. That’s an indirect way of saying that I think Cilic is now beyond Soderling (whom I personally very much like). The sky’s the limit for this young man.


sensationalsafin Says:

Cilic is beyond Soderling because he’s young, imo. Soderling biggest flaw was that it took him really long to realize how well he could play. And this just isn’t the era for late bloomers to suddenly step up and start winning titles. I’m glad I’ve seen Cilic live, it makes me appreciate him that much more. The guy plays a huge game. I’ve mentioned Safin as a guy who just smacks the shit out of the ball without much effort. Cilic is like that, too. His shots are cannons and he’s getting more and more consistent. I can’t believe how easily he beat Nadal just because it’s Nadal, but at the same time, it makes sense. I’m still pulling for Djokovic but I wouldn’t be too upset if Cilic won.


jane Says:

Very tough final to call, imo. Like sensationalsafin said – “I’m still pulling for Djokovic but I wouldn’t be too upset if Cilic won” – my sentiments, exactly.


jane Says:

Nadal said ” He didn’t serve that well. He gave me many chances to play and I was under pressure in the first game of the second set. I had a lot of pressure. I can do better next time.”

I am surprised to hear Rafa say “he didn’t serve well” because from where I was sitting he did. However, certainly Cilic offered up a fair number of 2nd serves and proceeded to win over 50% of them, so probably Rafa feels he should’ve taken better advantage. I do think Rafa can do better next time. I don’t doubt Cilic’s talent; I love it! But I didn’t think Rafa was near his best last night. At one point his first serve percentage was hovering around 50 and while for some players that means very little, for Rafa, who is usually a stat leader in this department, and relies on serve placement, this is telling. But all that said, I think even if Rafa was playing better last night, Cilic was just on fire and probably would’ve won.


been there Says:

Sean Randall:

“And in the women’s final in Beijing, what does a $6.6 million dollar women’s event in Asia yield? How about Svetlana Kuznetsova and Aggie Radwanksa. Maybe that’s a big draw in China but it’s probably not the marquee final the tournament investors had in mind when they plunked down big money for a big time tournament”

And they plunked down big money for a ‘marquee’ Djokovic-Cilic final???? Cilic!???

Clearly, you’re on a roll with the WTA bashing, which you’re entitled to…..but at least make a valid point, especially when we have Cilic in the final (instead of Nadal or Del.P or Roddick…who by the by, the latter two crashed out in rnd1…but I suppose we should ssshhh when it comes to ATP ‘woes’) & there have been far too many bagels & baguettes served this week in Beijing ATP…including yesterday in Cilic vs Nadal.

Funny how in WTA a 6-0 or 6-1 score line = pathetic WTA but in ATP, the same score = inspired play from the winner = good times in ATP.


Sean Randall Says:

been there, I guess you would take Kuz-Aggie over Novak-Cilic then? Fair enough, I won’t debate that.

Keep in mind though, Beijing is one of the five “Premier Mandatory” events on the WTA calendar, same level as Miami or Indian Wells. It’s one of their top events on the calender.

The Beijing men’s event IS NOT a Masters but a 500 level event, comparable in stature to Basel (just with more prize money).


been there Says:

jane says:

“I am surprised to hear Rafa say “he didn’t serve well” because from where I was sitting he did”

I also made note of that. Cilic’s 1st serve in set1 was 83% as compared to Rafa’s 60%. In set2, Cilic’s serve dropped to 53% while in set2 Rafa’s rose to 71%. Average 68:65, Rafa:Cilic

I’ll assume that Rafa was speaking specifically of set2 when he had chances at 40all…at those times, Cilic wasn’t serving as well as the other games. if not, maybe he had a different feel than the TV viewer!

But it’s always my opinion that ‘serving well’ doesn’t tell the whole story. There’s a difference between over-hitting a 1st serve by a few mm, in which case the player is bound to get it in in the 2nd serve….as opposed to shanking a first serve…which is likely to result in shanking or weak the 2nd serve.

Also, I heard commentators during US open series comments about Verdasco’s serve…they were saying that Dasco’s 1st serve is often in the 70s….but that’s just ‘coz it doesn’t have pace, as compared to say Feds….so Dasco has less chances of making errors….7 consequently serves fewer 2nd serves. Yet despite such a high serve, it doesn’t necessarily help him much as compared to Fed who can still win when serving at 45-50% 1st serve.


been there Says:

Sean Randall @12:42pm:

I’d not need to take one over the other ‘coz Im in a position to watch both. Anyone who reaches the final of any tournament deserves to be there & there is no hard & fast rule of who should be there based on ranking and/or popularity. Guess what, Tokyo has a Tsonga-Youhzny final. Yes, Youhzny…..marquee indeed!

None is a ‘marquee’ match, whether it’s a 250, 500, 1000, or premier mandatory. I see you’ve now introduced a new rule that top ranked ATP players are allowed to crash out early in tournaments with less ranking points. Thanks for the heads up, but I decline I decline to take it. And exactly what makes you think the same won’t happen next week in Shanghai, when despite being a masters, the same players are going to be present & each match is still going to be best of three sets?

I’ve read all your articles and the clear pattern is you are a WTA basher….which as I said, you’re entitled to (& as with most fans, I realise that at the moment, ATP is clearly stronger than WTA)….but please, do make valid points in your frequent bashing……especially since you’re the author of many main articles on the website.


Sean Randall Says:

been there, no denying I have been bashing the WTA, deservedly so. The tour’s been a circus the last six months and I am not the only one seeing it that way.

With respect to marquee finals, if you have the Top 16 or 15 players in the world in your draw like WTA Beijing did last week you would expect something better than a Kuz-Radwanska final or just 3 Top 10s in the QFs.

The men’s events in Beijing and Tokyo did not have such depth so you are more likely to a surprise/b-level finalist like Youhzny or even Cilic. Now if that happens in Shanghai – where ZERO top 5 seeds reach the SFs – then maybe there’s something to that.

And again, WTA Beijing (not ATP Beijing) is on par with Miami, IW, Madrid and among the biggest WTA events on the calendar. But it seems the players aren’t aware of that (or really just don’t give a hoot like the Williams sisters).

As for the top guys like Roddick and DelPo losing early, if that pattern continues then yes, I will bash them for just picking up a paycheck and playing out the season.


been there Says:

Sean Randall:
>>”no denying I have been bashing the WTA, deservedly so”

There is valid bashing, then there is taking the mickey…digs, etc. What you are doing is making OTT unnecessary digs. For example, it doesn’t matter which player would have featured in the WTA Beijing final…you would still have found a way of bashing regardless. Were it Serena-Safina final (which by what you write is ‘marquee’ as the top ranked players) you’d have reminded us for the umpteenth time Serena’s US Open debacle, not fined enough etc…. & then you never run out of digs for Safina.

>>”if you have the Top 16 or 15 players in the world in your draw like WTA Beijing did last week you would expect something better than a Kuz-Radwanska final”

Please direct me to this rule in the WTA tour ‘coz I’ve never heard of it…admittedly, am no tennis ‘expert’ so I must be ignorant to this golden rule. For starters, Kuzzy is a 2time grand-slam winner, having won FO this yr, & is ranked #6. Radwanska is ranked #12, & has been long billed as a star in the making.

I see cilic is ranked #15, & seeded 8th, so why aren’t you making the same observations, ‘coz after all, there were 7 other players who ought to have made the finals instead of him. Youhzny is ranked #49th!! & unseeded in Tokyo, so by your own personal convoluted rules, he shouldn’t have had a sniff at qtrs, let alone finals.

So based on the rankings & seedings, you contradict yourself which once again shows that it doesn’t matter who was to be in that final, you simply love bashing WTA for the sake of it.

>>”The men’s events in Beijing and Tokyo did not have such depth so you are more likely to a surprise/b-level finalist like Youhzny or even Cilic.”
LOL. Again, making excuses in your hopeless attempt at bashing WTA. For me (& most people) both fields were very strong, with Beijing being stronger than Tokyo..so no need for such excuses…& shameful to call someone whose played really well to get to the finals ‘b-level’. The top seeds played badly & were beaten fair & square.

>>”And again, WTA Beijing (not ATP Beijing) is on par with Miami, IW, Madrid and among the biggest WTA events on the calendar. ”

So what? Again, it doesn’t matter….excuses, excuses & more excuses for the sake of basing WTA. They are all best of three matches so if you’re going to be consistent, then for as long as top seeds are present in whatever tournament, whatever the strength of the field, whether WTA or ATP, they should both make deep in draws or better still, finals according to ranking. Again, I want to see where this rule is stated. The only difference comes about in ATP SLAMS ‘coz it’s best of five. Otherwise, for all other ATP & WTA events, they are all best of three & played back-to-back- days….so again, quit trying to compare the tournaments as if they’re soooo different ‘coz with the exception of prize money, it doesn’t make a difference.

>>”As for the top guys like Roddick and DelPo losing early, if that pattern continues then yes”

Once again, double standards. There’s always a top10, top15 ATP players crashing out in the early rounds…Roddick, Murray USopen…Roddick,Del.P & all Fed woes early in the season.. these are the few I can think of at the top of my head.

Clearly, your dislike for the WTA has blinded your objectivity and you’ve resorted to creating non-existent rules. You are simply bashing for the sake of bashing, when there are very many objective points you could have made to highlight the problems with WTA. With you, it’s just bash, bash, bash, because it sounds good in Sean Randall’s mind.


Sean Randall Says:

been there, in how many posts have I brought up Serena’s incident since the US Open? Once? Twice? Please tell me.

As for the tournaments, what’s the purpose then of having different categories of tournaments – Premier, Premier Mandatory and International? Why pay out more money? Why both with that since if your mind they are all the same, that classification doesn’t “matter”!

Do you also expect players to give the same focus to smaller events as they do the big ones? Or maybe do they “peak” for the bigger events?

And can you explain to me why Serena (and Venus) does so poorly at WTA events yet she does so well at the Slams? How can that be?


jane Says:

Just wanted to post a quick note of congrats to Roddick/Knowles for reaching the China doubles final. Good stuff for Andy R.


been there Says:

Sean, you’ve brought it up in any article in which you’ve written about the WTA since it happened, and especially in any game Serena’s playing…whether overtly or subtly with words like ‘controversy’. & I picked Serena & Safina ‘coz those two as examples of ‘marquee’ matches….’coz I was simply saying you’d have bashed no matter who was to appear in the final….so no need to take it so personally. I could have picked up any other player whom you’ve bashed & still made my point. Whether it’s specific Serena or Safina bashing or WTA in general…you are at it….which again, I have to stress, there’s nothing wrong with this if it’s objective.

You write the posts, so am sure you have the copies…no need for me to dig them out for you…..you can go back & check…..from the US open semi to today…it’s not that far back….ther’s always a dig at WTA.

>>”As for the tournaments, what’s the purpose then of having different categories of tournaments – Premier, Premier Mandatory and International? Why pay out more money?”

So should I say that some slams are more important than others ‘coz some pay more prize money? Is Queens or Halle less important just because they’re 250s yet I see players scramble to play in them just as much as 500s & 1000s?

Clearly, you’ve decided to ignore my main point which wss that they are all best of three matches, so it doesn’t really matter.

“Do you also expect players to give the same focus to smaller events as they do the big ones?”

Of course not…neither did I make such a claim, so please, don’t put words in my mouth. You made a claim that Kuzzy-Radwanska final wasn’t marquee enough, which I countered. Simple as….now you want to go to a whole different topic.

>>”And can you explain to me why Serena (and Venus) does so poorly at WTA events yet she does so well at the Slams? How can that be?”

Again, you are deviating to a different topic ‘coz seems like you agree that you simply bash for the sake of bashing, so can’t support your earlier claims of marquee WTA, ATP matches..

But to answer the question (of the new topic which you’ve brought up)….everyone knows that Serena & Venus care only…or more appropriately, mostly, about slams. They have said this many times….& that they have many other different interests out of tennis. In fact, Serena has admitted to appearing in certain events for the simple reason of not getting fined. As for Venus, I can’t remember the last time she performed exceptionally in a slam other than Wimbledon….her performances in other slams are more or less the same like in the other WTA events.

And why pick on Serena & Venus specifically….because they consistently deliver at slams…so you pick on the two players (or pmore appropraitely, Serena only)who will support your claim. What about other WTA players who perform the same in every other event, be it a slam or premier mandatory or whatever other level???…why not pick them as examples instead of Serena who boldly says she cares only for slams? Even this week after she was booted, she said it only matters which slams a player wins or doesn’t win_her words, not mine. You can confirm them in the interviews she conducted after her rnd2 win & rnd3 defeat in Beijeing 2009.

As I said, it doesn’t matter much ‘coz they’re all best of three…infact, the slams suits the women better ‘coz there’s a day of rest as compared to back-to-back play for the same intensity of the game…as opposed to best of five for the men.

I won’t respond to anything else ‘coz I’ve noticed you’ve now deviated from the main topic of my initial concern-which was ‘marquee’ matches. & we might continue till tomorrow, & go round in circles.
______________________________________________________________________

Look, I wouldn’t comment on this so much if you were one of ‘us’ as compared to someone writing a main article. Repeatedly, I’ve naively expected objective journalistic opinions when it’s one of the authors writing the main article. I see the names of authors listed as : Abe Kuijl, Dan Martin, Guerry Smith, Lynn Berenbaum, Richard Vach, Sean Randall, Staff, TennisOne.

Instead, with a few, it’s opinions over-ridden by personal biases & emotions. This is really what I should expect because, it is after all a blog as opposed to a sports news outlet…..so I apologise for my extreme naivety in expecting a bit of objective journalism.

What I have seen is that when all is said & done, your opinions as a tennis expert hold as much water as mine…’coz I can’t for the life of me imagine why I expected journalism. My bad….once again, my apologies.

So having said that, I think I can leave this topic in peace ‘coz I now realise that you are just like ‘us’ posters….posting based on favourites, emotions & biases….which is good ‘coz I’ll now enjoy reading all your articles ‘coz I won’t be searching for the ‘objective’ eye. I’ll even now enjoy the frequent WTA bashing from you, whether it’s objective or not,’coz it’s just for fun & sometimes done just for the sake of it.

Cheers!


Sean Randall Says:

been there, seeing how you didn’t want to investigate, I did. Since the US Open I’ve referred to Serena’s incident in a post just ONCE. ONCE! Is that unfair or is that excessive in your mind? Please tell me. In 20 days or so since, I’ve mentioned it ONCE. If anything I’ve under-reported it.

So you agree players that don’t focus the same at all the events. For the most part players focus based on classifications. Slams at the top, then Masters and then to 500 and to 250 level events.

That said, players will try to peak for the biggest events like the Slams and the Masters as we rarely see a #6 v. #11 in a Slam or a Masters final on the men’s side.

But some of the women don’t care – even you admit the Williams sisters put priorities elsewhere – and that’s embarrassing.

So my point is is that the top WTA players SHOULD focus more on these WTA Premier 5 Mandatory events, yet clearly they do not because the top players didn’t come through last week. They weren’t focused, some of them didn’t care and the event was left with a mediocre final.

And they are only asked to show up FOUR times a year for these Mandatory events while the men have 7-8 Masters to attend and for the most part the men do show up for the bigger events. Sure Roddick, DelPo even Federer and Rafa may lose early at the smaller events but for the Masters they more often than not play well.


been there Says:

Sean, maybe overtly, but all the subtelitis are there in many other article…I remember reading them and people commenting. I lack the time to dig it all out or as you call put ‘investigate’…wish you’d do the same when writing your articles. And it’s been mentioned by other tennis-x authors, such that when you mentioned it overtly (I’ve gone back to an article on 6th Oct 2009)….many posters told you that it’s been over-killed & YOU oughta give it up. Now, seeing that you are a tennis-x author & you probably knew your colleagues had over-reported on it, so what’s the need in ‘reporting’ on it over two weeks after it happened? LOL. But if it makes you happy, go ahead & have some fun…that’s what makes blogging so much fun….it’s emotional opinions & sensations as opposed to objective journalism.

And you mean you’ve only bashed WTA in one article??…now that’s a bit of twisted truth. And what’s with the excessive emotions??? lol.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

I still don’t see what your posts, including the one @5.54 have to do with my initial concern of ‘marquee’ match….you’ve simply pulled out a new topic out of thin air…going round & round in circles, creating new rules, repeating what I’ve said about the Williams sisters (which by the way, I didn’t refute in the 1st place…you brought it up out of nowhere trying to make it seem like I refuted the point! lol) & desperately trying to support your claim, which so far you haven’t…..which further supports everything I said in my post at 5.29pm.

Anyway, I said this at 5.29, but I’m off the topic ‘coz what you’re writing has nothing to do with ‘marquee’ matches…but good to see so much emotion from you.

Great stuff!


grendel Says:

A comment from my son in Beijing on Gonzalez which may be of interest:

“Gonzalez and Ferrer was a very entertaining and close match and Gonzalez seems to be spending his twilight years on tour as an entertainer, he was messing and joking around a lot and when he got a point penalty after smashing his raquet after being broken by Ferrer he basically gave up the the next game in protest at having a poiint deducted and just hit silly slices over the net for Ferrer to smash away – I think only Gonzalez would do something like this. “


Sean Randall Says:

been there, are you now backtracking off your earlier statement that I would “have reminded us for the umpteenth time Serena’s US Open debacle” had I written about Serena? By now lumping my posts in with the others it sounds like you are.

And what are these other subtleties? Can you bring them to my attention? Or are you again just guessing on what I have written to suit your argument.

And no, I never did “investigate” because I know I didn’t reference it until last week.

As for the marquee finals, the smaller the tournament the less chance for marquee finals simply because those marquee players don’t all play them.

Now look at the big, important events like the Slams and the Masters events. Because the top men show up and give a strong effort they often get through to the final. Agree? Rarely do we ever get two surprise finalists at those events. One surprise, it happens, but rarely two.

The women’s tour of late has not followed. While the Slams still get their share of marquee SF/finals the tour-level events do not even though they have the same field and to use your point, play best-of-three.

So again, for me this shows that some of the top WTA players just don’t care about their WTA tournaments (and you’ve agreed). They are focused primarily on Slams which is fine, but they should put some emphasis on their top-level tour events (Premier Mandatory) just like the men have with the Masters events.

Agree?

As for the WTA bashing, no I haven’t just bashed them in one article but many! And yes I will continue to bash the tour. Wait until Henin and Clijsters finish #1 and #2 next year. It’s going to happen and I’m going to bash the state of women’s tennis for letting it happen!


been there Says:

Sean,

I’ve just read the 1st paragraph of your 6.55post & just from that, I see you’re still in the circular motion so won’t bother with the rest:

Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m not back-tracking on anything…if you’ve at all read my post at 6.44pm, I’ve clearly stated that you’ve mentioned it both overtly & subtly in more than one article….you are the author…you have the copies…you have eyes to read the comments on those articles…so knock yourself out. Perhaps you wish me to backtrack, but I want to be crystal clear that I’m not.

Apologies for not reading the remaining paragraphs, ‘coz as I said, am off the topic ‘coz you’ve created mini & sub-topics on my initial simple observation of ‘marquee’ matches….seems like you’ve climbed the Himalayas, rowed the Nile & skied on the Swiss Alps…lol…it was a very simple observation….didn’t really require the tough ride you’ve given it…& still going round in circles.

PS: Funny how you conveniently avoided my ‘tricky’ questions in the previous posts & instead hammered on with your one off-topic point. Maybe you could create a thread on how much tougher a WTA slam or premier event is as compared to other best-of-three WTA tournaments, etc. ‘coz it seems to interest you so much….we can have an interesting debate then.

For this reason, save from the 1st paragraph, I haven’t bothered to read the remainder of your 6.55 post ‘coz I have a feeling you’re simply repeating yourself as you’ve done in the entire thread….so apologies if you said anything important or asked a question which required a reply.

Cheers!!


been there Says:

Back to some +ves…..I really liked the statements by Cilic:
“……and the best thing was that I didn’t back off and I was just [as] stubborn with my style of play….”

Very funny & amazing what oodles of confidence can do.

Quite a startling statement by Rafa:
“Cilic is good, is young and has a very good serve but if you are losing 6-1 6-3 there are a lot of things you are doing wrong. Mentally I probably wasn’t there”

I feel he could easily explain his loses to Sod FO & Del.P USO as due to injury…..then if Djoko hammers him 6-1 at Cincy, it’s ok, ‘coz there’s a bit of injury & even if it wasn’t there, he feels Djoko is more or less his equal, so it’s ‘ok’…but this Cilic one, he didn’t expect it & can only explain it as mental. I hope he realises that we arm-chair pundits have more or less concluded that he’s got a problem with flat-hitters, ‘coz even when he wins, a la, Blake, it’s still a difficult match….so it’s not always mental…he could 101% physically & 120% mentally present & strong, but against these players, this might not be enough. Sometimes it’s just match-ups……you win some & lose others.

And Djokovic on his best diplomacy speech, trying to save the Sod from a few blushes:
“The result is not really a picture of the whole match,” said Djokovic. “I ensure you it was a lot more difficult, because he’s a big server and hitter and was very aggressive throughout the whole match. I had to be passive for most of the time, more than I am usually defensive….”

lol. C’mon Djoko…just say you hammered someone for once…like Cilic..I assure you it’ll feel good.


jane Says:

” Sometimes it’s just match-ups……you win some & lose others.”

LOL – yeah, ask Fed about Rafa. Or Roddick about Fed. Or Djoko about Nadal… etc.

Maybe it’s true that Rafa wasn’t mentally there, but then I’d have to ask – why?? Surely he’d want to win his first title since last May, and his first on hard court since IW? I wonder what he means by that – that he wasn’t focused, that he was surprised, that he didn’t fight enough?

If anything, I think the win is down to a few things: partly match up (flat hitting, etc), partly that Cilic was in the zone, and as he said, didn’t relent, and partly that Rafa didn’t serve as well or as consistently as he often does.

Djoko says ” I had to be passive for most of the time” – Passive, huh? That’s not how I saw it, as he matched forehands, hit great lobs etc. Although I do agree with Djok that were it not for a slow start from Sod, and a mini-collapse while by Sod when was serving at 3-4 in the second, which resulted in the break and Djoko serving the match out, that Sod was in it with a good shot and playing fully aggressive tennis. And while he did have some errors at net, he also made some great plays up there.

Cilic will be mucho dangerouso tonight. Good luck to Djoko, and may the best man on the day win it all!


Twocents Says:

Jane,

Are you a mind reader or what? I mis-typed “Fed only had Nadal at RG” as “Fed only has Nadal at RG”, purely based on the fact that he reached three finals there before 2009. As for RG 2010? I’m not even sure Fed will be there or not? His latest interview did mention if he quits today he’d be happy blah blah…

Not writing Nadal off USO, just seems the window is shrinking instead of widening. Djok looks best of current top 5, for 2009.


sensationalsafin Says:

Best in what way?


jane Says:

Hi Twocents, grendel is the mind-reader, lol, as he knew what you meant more than me. Fed still has another couple slams in him, I think, though they will be tougher and tougher to get perhaps, as the competition deepens. He’s still a top contender for the FO. And I would assume Fed wants to stick around to compete in the 2012 Olympics. It’s so weird to think of the twilight of someone’s career being at 29 or 30 years old!


jane Says:

sensationalsafin, I am taking a guess Twocents meant 2010, not 2009, @10:17, and he may be referring to the USO title contenders as he’d picked Djok for this year.


Twocents Says:

sensationalsafin,

Best in overall package: game, age, health, experiences, attitude, karma (law of average)…

Hi, Jane. We desperate Fed fans are not hope for his wins, just to see he shows up on the court. And we have Nike to count on, of all the straws.

It’s criminal that one can be so ready to retire at 29.


sensationalsafin Says:

Wow, when you put it like that, it’s very true. But he’s not the most fit, yet. I want Djokovic to become as fit as Federer or at least Roddick. Once he becomes supremely fit, I think he’s gonna start winning slams consistently. Look at how well Roddick has been playing due to supreme fitness. He’s not afraid to do what he’s gotta do because he knows he won’t get tired. Djokovic is a better player than Roddick and once he gets his fitness up, he’ll start winning even more, starting gaining confidence, and then win EVEN MORE. He also needs to learn to deal with losses to Nadal. Fed’s been able to swallow his Nadal losses and move foward, Djokovic needs to do the same.


Twocents Says:

He’s done that, at the grand old age of 22 :-)). He lost to Fed at Cincy & Flushing, and moved on to make it final here.

Yes, Djok’s fitness has a way to go. But first, he does not have to win slams consistently, not at age of 22. He only needs to begin collecting his 2nd slam, one slam per year, then no.3, then 4…2ndly, he shall not over train and wear out his frailgile body either. He has almost perfect tennis body — agile and very flexible. That kind of body is less injury pro too. So how to improve stamina and at the same time keep this light weight body is a bit tricky.


margot Says:

grendel: I seem to remember Gonzales mucking about at F.O. If I were playing him I would not find his antics funny. Am I imagining it or is Cilic/Djko final on at 9.30 out time? If so I’ll be able to watch some tennis …sshh…
sensationalsafin:Andy M has really dedicated himself to getting fit and look what’s happened. It’s a very fine line.
jane: good luck 2 Djko. Should be a very interesting match. Usually he can handle these big hitters but I think Cilic has more going for him than that so fingers crossed.


jane Says:

Thanks margot; I may not even see the match as I don’t think I can stay up for it – middle of the night and all. But I’ll cross my fingers for Djok. Just glad to see him playing well, was a great match against Sod, I thought.

Gonza was indeed “mucking about at the FO” – that’s where he was wiping lines with his butt! I might find some of his antics funny, but I can see how they’d not be as well.

Anyhow, may catch the match, may not, but if you do, enjoy it!


i am it Says:

i went to bed early last night but woke up late by an hour. missed only 28 min as the match was suspended at 2-2, deuce, dj serving to hold, thanks to rain. i don’t know when the play will resume. i would have slept a little longer had i known it would rain. what am i gonna do now? kind of bummer.


TomA Says:

Nah Sean, from what I saw against Blake and Safin, Nadal is playing very well, moving around the court with his usual incredible speed, making ridiculous gets, forcing his opponent to hit that one extra shot. But Cilic was focused and patient, playing him in the right way. But still, Nadal was starting to come back in the second set, I could feel he was close to turning things around (like when he played Nalby in Indian Wells this year), but oh well. The mens game is so strong now, upsets are becoming more common. And yes, Nadal’s past 4 losses have been lopsided, but most of his hard-court losses are. He’ll win the majority of the close, tough matches, but then will run into a player who just bullies him around the court (2007: Nalby twice, Gonzo at AO; 2008: Youzhny in Chennai, Tsonga at AO – worst whooping of his career IMO, Davydenko in Miami; and a few losses to Djokovic at American Masters Series events). And how annoying was all the rave that Nadal was unbeaten in Beijing?


i am it Says:

and i replayed the 1st four games. based on what i saw cilic seems to have carried the momentum from the previous match, the speed, power, and accuracy, and won the 2nd game in love. dj served fine in the 1st two games, esp the 2nd one, which he won by losing only 1 point. but he struggled a bit in the 3rd, due to errors, threw 2 of them long, 0-30, and played a good rally and moved in to the net to finish the point, 15-30. 2nd serve at a critical moment. Cilic positions better and outplays, takes the ball early, first cross court return followed by overhead to the other corner, then finishes with volley at the net. 15-40, double break point. 2nd serve. somehow cilic shanks in the net after a good rally. 30-40. thus the deuce. rain. all this time, dj looked vulnerable.
after rain, dj’s playing a lot better.
dj gets 2 break chances. cannot convert. deuce. gets another. dj breaks. wow.


i am it Says:

i think the rain delay is working better for dj as he consolidates the break by losing only 1 point.


i am it Says:

break point/ set point for dj. and dj breaks again in the 8th game and takes the set.
maybe the long match suspension allowed dj to discuss strategies with his coach or whatever. it has favored him so far.

P.S. correction: dj had triple break points in the 6th game of the st set.


i am it Says:

j., can you believe dj’s drop shot and 2 lobs worked in the 1st set? that’s how he broke Cilic the 1st time in the 4th attempt.


i am it Says:

sadly, dj gets broken in the 1st game of the 2nd set.


i am it Says:

you know how dj got broken, he shanks 2 easy balls in the net during the rally, though cilic played the 1st point and the 4th point really well.


i am it Says:

now Cilic consolidates his break. 2-0. he is back in the zone.


i am it Says:

dj almost got broken 2nd time, thanks to cilic’s easy overhead miss. 1-2.


i am it Says:

cilic is playing a little bit better than dj in the 2nd set, partly due to dj’s poor serve at critical moments.
looks like we are heading into the 3rd set.
overall, it’s a quality match so far, Cilic leading 3-2 in the 2nd.


i am it Says:

yeah, dj breaks back after a phenomenal 30-stroke rally. 3-3. amazing !


i am it Says:

and dj holds to lead 4-3, after a drop volley in the penultimate game point. can you believe dj’s drop shot is working, 100% so far, today?


i am it Says:

dj had a chance to break but made a couple of easy unforced errors and missed it. 4-4.


i am it Says:

dj faces triple break point, cilic played 2 points really well and dj gifted one forehand long. scary !
2 back to back aces. 1 to go.
should have gone for a winner. continued to play sloppy slices, and cilic finds a way to hit cross court forehand and move in to finish the point.
got broken. should not have. cilic will serve for the set. 5-4.


i am it Says:

dj breaks back right away by prevaling in rallies each time.
5-5.


i am it Says:

dj faces another break point. his forehand clipped the net chord. 2nd serve. cilic unloads a crazy forehand cross court.
dj gets broken. wished he had been a little more careful. it’s not that he played that game bad. just made an error at a wrong time.
one more time, cilic will serve for the set. 6-5.


i am it Says:

dj gets another break chance to force tie breaker. but misses.
Deuce. another break chance for dj. cilic double faults, 1st one, at the worst time. and dj break back.
we have a tie break.


i am it Says:

dj wins the 1st point easily. misses a chance to take a mini break as his forehand from well inside the court goes long.
cilic takes his both.
dj replies the same way.
3-2.


i am it Says:

cilic loses footing but was able to get the ball back. not enough. crazy point for dj. a mini break for dj.


i am it Says:

dj steals another point from cilic. 5-2. but cilic wins the the next. 5-3. dj prevails in the next rally. 3 championship point for dj.


jane Says:

WOOT!!!!!! YAY Djoko / Nole, finally another title. : )
Great effort from Cilic too – a sign of the future for him, and I am sure he will break into the top ten next year.

i am it, thanks for your play by play. I missed the entire first set and then the first 6 games or so of the second. When I tuned in Djok was down a break, and so I went back to bed. lol. But then I couldn’t sleep anyhow, so came back and watched Djok fight back continuously. He just wouldn’t let Cilic have it. Great get by Cilic on his butt there in the tiebreak.

Now, back to sleep for me.


i am it Says:

cilic throws one easy forehand wide. 7-4.
congrats to dj.
he did it in straight sets.
absolutely delighted to win another title.

first time cilic loses in the final. cilic lost, not because he played bad, but because he could not convert his break chances, meaning he was not as good as dj in those big moments. but he played a great match, though lost.

it was worth my few hours of sleep depravity. totally enjoyed how impressively both played and dj’s win was the icing on the cake.
are you envious, j?


margot Says:

jane: congratulations! I think Djko played a very clever match, his athleticism was fab.! What a talent Cilic is though and so much room for improvement, quite scarey.
i am it: for the first time in a long time did not need your splendid commentary, cos time of match was good 4 U.K. Back to gardening now….


i am it Says:

so you were able to catch some of it. happy, happy that dj won.
good night, j !
i don’t think i can go back to bed right away. maybe, an hour later.


jane Says:

Nah, not too envious : ) Actually, I am catching a bit of a cold so I really needed sleep. It’s still middle of the night here, 4:00, so I will go back to sleep soon – but want to see Djok with the trophy first. Cilic looks disappointed. I think he must be because he broke serve and had two chances to serve out the secnod, but both times Djoko broke right back; that must’ve been frustating for Marin. He looks funny holding that stuffy. lol. Like Cilic a lot.


jane Says:

Thanks margot :) Enjoy the garden, love fall gardening.


Kimmi Says:

Djokovic is playing well again. Great display of variety fron him. Cilic played well but could not hang in there with Djokovic. Congrants.

And Tsonga..congrants. He definely likes this part of the season, did not see tha match but from the scoreline it looked one sided. The race to shanghai is heating up, Interesting.


i am it Says:

glad you were able to watch, mg. hell with my commentary !


jane Says:

Kimmi, that’s right – kudos to Jo-Will for his Tokyo title also.

I’d love to know the status of the race; I assume that Roddick and Tsonga are pretty much guaranteed. Are there two spots open or just one.

Ha! The announcer just called Djoko handsome and he said a few words in Chinese.


i am it Says:

yeah, the announcer said dj is particularly famous among Chinese girls and they love him. his response in Chinese was sweet.
he knows how to please and earn the crowd for future.
they almost made him do so impersonations. he avoided nicely, without declining as such. pretty clever.
Chinese Open trophy is really bulky. i like bigger trophies in general, but this one was OK.


Kimmi Says:

Aaaarg..they want Djoko to show impersonations again, you can see he does not want to do it ….but got away with biting the trophy thing like Rafa. LOL


Kimmi Says:

Rafa missed the opportunity to move closer to Fed for year end No.1 spot..so until this week Fed still looking good, let see how it pans out in Shanghai.


grendel Says:

Margot,

Gonzalez did a certain amount of messing at US Open in the first set of his match against Tsonga – at one stage gifting his racket to an astonished (but gratified) woman in the crowd. You had to wonder whether his purpose was to calm himself down preparatory to summoning the old focus for the second set. If so, it worked. And we were deprived of a Tsonga/ Nadal quarter and conceivably a Tsonga/delPo semi, and nor must we overlook the theoretical possibility of a Tsonga/Fed final.

And all because of Gonzalez messing? Now you see the problems a historian has in assigning causes to any particular event………

Gardening, eh? Did you know your man James Fenton has written a book on gardening?


margot Says:

grendel: re Fenton yes. Bagging up and smelling home made, freshly sieved compost…that’s about as close to paradise that you can get on this earth……and getting to watch a tennis final at BLOODY last is pretty good too….


Sean Randall Says:

been there, more guesswork? Not only are you backtracking you now admit to not even fully reading responses when replying to people. Thankfully not everyone follows your policy.

By the way, I did answer your oh so “tricky” query on the marquee players but clearly you couldn’t be bothered to read it before making more falsehoods against me. Keep it up.


been there Says:

Sean Randall,

You are entitled to believe in what you want to believe in. I see that I said that I”m NOT back-tracking…But I’m hereby declaring as loudly & clearly as possible…I’M NOT BACK-TRACKING on anything. It’s now in caps-lock in case you missed it. If saying that I’m NOT backtracking = back-tracking to you & makes you have a better peace of mind, then good for you, but know that I’m not.

“you now admit to not even fully reading responses when replying to people. ”

Exactly which people apart from YOUR particular post at whatever time it was? There is nothing to ‘admit’….it is a statement made by me…nothing to hide….and I fully explained to you why I was not going to read the remainder of your certain post….& as soon as I decided not to read it, I told you so. lol….what an admission!! LOL. Now you want to turn it to ‘people’…sorry to disappoint you…it was just YOUR particular post…I still haven’t read it, & won’t….again, i repeat it loud & in case you’ve missed on my great ‘admission’….let me run & sell my great admission to a tabloid. lol. Apologies if my not reading it has caused you so much offence.

No, up until I said I wasn’t going to read your post, imo, you hadn’t answered the ‘marquee’ match… instead, in so many posts, you’d just been off-topic.

Keep up your falsehoods Sean Randall. Good to see so much emotions from you! Great stuff!!!


sheila Says:

i think it will b interesting if cilic starts getting some confidence that he should also start winning nadal on hardcourt as has delpotro the last 3x. on clay & grass nadal is hard 2beat, but get these tall guys w/big serves and flat hard strokes & i can c them winning nadal regularly on hardcourt. early on james blake could beat nadal w/his flat hard groundstrokes on hc. if cilic & delpotro continue 2 gain confidence then murray, nadal, federer & djokovic will really b in 4 a ride. tsonga & monfils r big hitters 2, but they r inconsistent. that is what sets nadal, murray, djokovic & federer from these other young guns. consistency week in & week out. 2010 here we come and it should prove 2b more interesting than 2009 because right now there is no dominant player anymore.


Tennis served fresh Says:

apparently I don’t get any tennis with my cable tv. Bummer. Good job Cilic for beating Nadal. Djokovic, settle down, Murray deserved it just at much as you do, he just worked harder and won more often. Stop your whining. :)


funches Says:

Been There,

Shut the hell up.

OK, you like women’s tennis and think Sean is unfair to the WTA, but please try to make that point without exposing yourself as a fanatical fool. Your part of the thread should have ended when Sean explained the difference between one of the five biggest non-slam events on the WTA tour and a run-of-the-mill ATP event. Your next post should have apologized to him for taking the wrong opportunity to attack him.

Posters like you drive writers crazy. Even when you have a valid point, it is obscured by your blind devotion to a particular cause. Show some common sense.


blah Says:

Congrats to djokovic. caught a little bit of the match. I want to see him do this in slams.


been there Says:

funches,

Thank you for your very ‘illuminative’ post.

>>”Shut the hell up”
LOL!!! Nice way to begin..great to see such strong emotions..this is the wonderful thing about this website..keep it up!

>>”you like women’s tennis and think Sean is unfair to the WTA”

Yes, I do watch both WTA & ATP matches. FYI, like most tennis fans, I do prefer the ATP by country miles & most of my posts on this website concern ATP…& no, I don’t think the author is unfair to WTA. I did agree with him that the WTA is currently in a bad state & deserves to be bashed with objective points instead of bashing for the sake of bashing….again ‘objectivity’ is a relative noun, so we are both entitled to our opinions. I too do bash the WTA, just differently.

>>”…exposing yourself as a fanatical fool…”

It takes a fool to know a fool, so I’m in good company with you. Thank you for the support.

>>”Your part of the thread should have ended…. ”

No, my part of the thread ends where and when I want it to end or when I’m banned from the website for expressing a different view from the author.

>>”Your next post should have apologized to him for taking the wrong opportunity to attack him”

What, so you’re going to tell me what to do? Why don’t you then just enter my mind & type everything out for me, seeing that you’ve appointed yourself as my mind-reader. I have no apologies to make & it would be hypocritical of me to apologise just so as to fit in & receive praises.

“Posters like you drive writers crazy.”

Now, that is the writer’s/individual’s problem, no? I for one think no one should take anything written on a blog so seriously as to be driven crazy, especially ‘coz we don’t know each other & none of this is affecting anybody’s personal life. So if someone is ‘driven crazy’ by a blog post, then they have a right to not read the annoying posts or respond to them. If however the person continues the debate & is actually driven crazy, then there’s something wrong. It is just a tennis blog, partly for tennis analysis & partly for fun. We all disagree from time to time, but I see no need for anyone to be ‘driven crazy’ by any post, however emotive it could be.

“….blind devotion to a particular cause…”

No, my only devotion in life, blind or otherwise, is family & friends and I only have causes to things affecting my personal life…not to any tennis player, article, author, poster or website ‘coz I follow tennis just for fun.

“Show some common sense”

You too……it’s just a tennis blog. Nothing more.

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