Blake Bids for Nadal Upset in Shanghai
by Sean Randall | October 13th, 2009, 10:46 pm
  • 87 Comments

James Blake is a perfect 1-0 against Rafael Nadal in Shanghai. Will that have any meaning in their seventh career encounter later today at the Shanghai Masters? Maybe, maybe not.

Nadal though did just beat Blake in three sets last week in Beijing to finally get to level terms on their head-to-head 3-3. But Blake is under a new coach, Kelly Jones, and given he is in the downslope of his career and now “under the radar”, he should play even more freely (if that’s even possible) than ever. And in my mind a free/loose James Blake is a dangerous James Blake!

In the first round Blake took care of Ivo Karlovic and now I think Blake will do the deed that I had originally pegged Ivo to do, beat Rafa. I’m just not convinced Rafa’s in full form yet and perhaps Blake will draw from his straight-set win over Rafa a few years ago at the Masters Cup.

Also today my man Gael Monfils locks up with Lleyton Hewitt. The Australian’s playing better than most give him credit for, but Gael should win that match. I like Juan Martin Del Potro to struggle but get through Jurgen Melzer. I also think the rest of the favorites including Tomas Berdych who meets Marat, to all advance to the third round.

As for the matches yesterday, I thought Marin Cilic would struggle against Tomas Berdych the Croat did just that losing in three sets. And while I picked Stanislas Wawrinka to beat Andy Roddick (and eventually reach the semifinals!) I didn’t expect Roddick to damage his left and retire to the Swiss. Based on what I read there was no serious trauma to the knee so I hope it’s something minor and the American returns in Paris.


Also Check Out:
Roger Federer Confirms Shanghai Participation
No Federer, No Murray Leaves Shanghai Masters Field Wide Open
Does Anyone want to go to Shanghai in November?
Blake Falls as Del Potro, Simon Move Closer to Shanghai
Roger Federer Gets Mobbed In Shanghai, Except That’s NOT Roger Federer! [Video]

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87 Comments for Blake Bids for Nadal Upset in Shanghai

sensationalsafin Says:

Didn’t Berdych win in 3 sets? And Safin is 2-0 against Berdych. The old big man isn’t done yet.


Sean Randall Says:

ss, thanks for the clarification. Yes, Berdych won in three sets. I shall correct.


i am it Says:

SS, Bird did it in 3 sets.
Sean, correction, please. 7-6 (8), 3-6, 6-3.

Match summary from Shanghai site:
Both young players kept their first 2 service games while Cilic had more control in his service game because of his excellent serve. After a tie 2-2, Berdych had some difficulties in 5th game which he almost gave Cilic a break point, but he finally kept it with a heavy serve. Cilic lost his stability in the next game, giving Berdych a break chance and the Czech took it successfully, 4-2. Cilic was managed to break back in the 9th game, leading the game to 5-4. Berdych took the game in a tough tie break(10-8).

Set 2 continued to be a close game which both players were unable to break in the first 3 games. Berdych faced 2 break points in game 4, but he managed to save them with a excellent forehand return and a high quality serve, leading the game to 2-2. Afterwards, Cilic finally took the 5th break point in the 6th game, forcing a 4-2 lead. Berdych kept his service game in face of deadly stress but lost set 2 to Cilic eventually by 6-3.

Cilic held 2 break points in 3rd game in the final set and he took the first one to have a 2-1 lead. However, Berdych was able to break back in the next game, taking advantage of 2 double faults from the Croatian, 2-2. Cilic broke back in the next game again and kept the 6th game, leading the game to 4-2. In the key game 7, Berdych saved 3 break points and took his own service game before breaking again, forcing a tough tie 4-4. Finally, Berdych took the match after another break by 6-4.


i am it Says:

correction: 3rd was 6-4.


i am it Says:

i also think Monfils should be able to deal blow to hewitt. they play at 2:00 am (ET).

i’d have included Djokovic in the title. he’s playing Fognini, 8:00 AM (ET). also, delPo: THREE TOP SEEDS RUMBLE IN THE JUNGLE TONIGHT.

in their 5 career meetings, including USO recently, melzer has won only 3 sets out of 16, so i am not worrying about my guy who plays at 4:00 AM (ET).

about blake’s last victory over rafa in shanghai, it was indoor back then. it’s a different story outdoor this time. however, you cannot rule out an upset, considering how well blake played last week, though i don’t see an upset happening. they play at 6:00 am (ET)
————
matches tonight/ tomorrow morning:

simon vs. troicki at 8:00 AM (ET)
tsonga vs. zeng at 6:00 am
soderling vs. almagro ay 4:00 am
birdych vs. safin at 2:00 am
F-Lopez vs. ferrer at 2:00 am
haas vs. schuettler at 1:00 am
robredo vs. mayer at 3:00 am
ljubicic vs. verdasco at 4:00 am


jane Says:

i am it – this must be said: thanks for posting the match times as you’ve been doing for the past week, week and a half or so. I appreciate it, as I am sure others who post here do.


sensationalsafin Says:

Isn’t Shanghai indoor?


i am it Says:

SS, based on the ATP Calendar/ surface listing, we got rid of all indoor Masters, and all indoor carpet. so, you have both Shanghai and Paris outdoor hard. And there is no carpet tournament any more from 2009.
http://www.atpworldtour.com/Tournaments/Event-Calendar.aspx

Correct me if i am wrong.


i am it Says:

no prob, j. just trying to make myself useful in a small way.


funches Says:

There’s no way the Paris tournament is being played outdoors.


sensationalsafin Says:

Wtf? Why are the MS outdoors? And why no more carpet? That’s stupid.


i am it Says:

funches, we will find out soon, a month from now.
——–
SS, here is a thing about Shanghai’s Center Court, the main stadium:
Qi Zhong stadium at the Qizhong Forest Sports City Arena, has a retractable roof. The roof was designed to enable the stadium to host both indoor and outdoor tennis events.
Other outdoor courts/ stadiums were added in 2008-2009 Aug, but they don’t have retractable roofs.


jane Says:

Very interesting: I had no idea they eliminated all of the indoor hard court Masters events; I wonder why that is? I see, though, according to the link i am it provided, that the YEC is still indoor hard.


sensationalsafin Says:

It’s a conspiracy to make beating Nadal harder.


Kimmi Says:

Nalbandian will not be very happy.


Kimmi Says:

Jane: “i am it – this must be said: thanks for posting the match times as you’ve been doing for the past week, week and a half or so. I appreciate it, as I am sure others who post here do.”

Agreed, very useful. thanks for posting.


Sean Randall Says:

Paris is indoors on hardcourts. It’s not outdoors!


i am it Says:

keep in mind, technically, the term “hard” refers more to surface specifications than indoor or outdoor, so funches may be right about questioning my reading.

however, indoor events are clearly listed as “indoor hard”, and paris has only “hard” in its surface designation.

also, this note from ATP site hints that new stadiums/ courts are added to Paris, including others.
Facility Improvements: “The largest ever facility investment of $800 million, including new stadia in Brisbane, Madrid, Shanghai, Valencia and Paris will be made in 2009.”
http://www.atpworldtour.com/Corporate/About.aspx

could it that the ATP listing is wrong or maybe Paris main stadium has a retractable roof plus expanded outdoor courts, like in shanghai?
whatever may be the case, we’ll find out soon.


i am it Says:

jane, good news, haas retired after losing the 1st set, 4-6.
dj’s road to the final is looking better and better by minute.


jane Says:

I just saw that; Haas retires/gives walk-overs a fair bit so I am not that surprised. Yes, I guess that is good for Djoko. Weirdly, Fognini worries me a little as the unknown x-factor guy; hasn’t he caused a few upsets in his day or am I thinking of someone else. Anyhow, we’ll see. I wish all these matches weren’t in the middle of the night!


i am it Says:

j., “in his day”? Lol. he is about dj’s age. the kid is a clay courter. he did beat berdych and cilic at Monte Carlo, and davydenko at Stuttgart, almagro at Bucharest, all on clay this year.

honestly, i am not worried at all.


margot Says:

jane: sorry..but..at last, not in middle of night in UK..


faeaki7 Says:

h-H stats are telling but never determine an outcome, we have seen, especially lately on the tour, players turn things around against their nemesis, its great that everybody is picking up their game, tennis is great right now. The fact that Rafa beat Blake last week is insignificant too, he knows that! Blake has weapons to hurt him, so step it up Rafa!!! go fix that h-h please!!!


been tere Says:

All done & dusted for Del.P (5-7, 1-2trd)….so in effect, by travelling to Asia, Del.P has achieved as much as what Fed has by staying put in Switzerland….might have as well stayed in Argentina to recover from the parades! *roll eyes* Very highly disappointed.

At least the Sod & Monfils got through :)


been there Says:

All done & dusted for Del.P (5-7, 1-2 ret’d)….so in effect, by travelling to Asia, Del.P has achieved as much as what Fed has by staying put in Switzerland….might have as well stayed in Argentina to recover from the parades! *roll eyes* Very highly disappointed.

At least the Sod & Monfils got through :)


grendel Says:

well, Blake breaks back in second set and earns a tiebreak. 6-2 up – and then, oh dear, the collywobbles? Tentative play, rafa serves – and Blake calmly smashes down the line. Crisis averted, second set Blake.

What will he do now? This coach business is obviously significant – presumably he held onto the old one for so long out of loyalty. Alas, no room for niceness in the human jungle! With nerw coach, reinvigorated bh and tremendous volleying. Come on Blake, don’t mess around.

Seems, jane, I was right about delPo. I’m not crowing – I’d like to see a rematch delPo/Nadal, had it been on offer. Will have to wait.


grendel Says:

Nadal wins 6-4 in the third – having been a break up, and then pulled back by a fighting Blake – but who cldn’t keep it up.
One delicious exchange between Fleming and Leif Shiras. Blake had expertly manouevred Nadal around, and moved up to the net for the kill – but netted the ball;

Leafy:”What do you think was wrong with that volley?”
Fleming:”It went into the net”. Shiras was not to be denied however, and insisted on Fleming pinpointing the technical deficiency. Fleming didn’t think there was one – just that Blake wasn’t quite fully focused on the ball.

And at the end of the day, that was the difference between the two players. Both players played a mixture of outstanding shots and loose throwaways (yes, Nadal, too), but Nadal was just that bit more steely over all.

Incidentally, we’re always hearing how Federer’s onehanded bh gets a hammering from Nadal even on non-clay courts. All I can report is that Blake’s onehanded bh was sizzling today.

I hope he is not too old to be able to make a strong impact on the tour. There is no doubt that he is now learning to move in with a view to setting up the volley, not to mention plain serve and volleying. You have to wonder: why on earth hasn’t he done so before? He really is, potentially, a superb player.


i am it Says:

been there, “Very highly disappointed.”
i am disappointed but mildly. this allows me to scale back my hopes to zero for this year.

Sean, you are visionary.

Allez dj, soderling, rafa, and tsonga all the way !


grendel Says:

‘Nother nice exchange between the Fleming/Shiras double act:

Shiras: if you can hit the ball with pace AND with depth, then you’re gonna be winning a lot of tennis matches.

Fleming: Thankyou, Socrates

Shiras: The name’s Shiras

Fleming: O.K. Now we know what to do. the question is, how do you do it?

b.t.w., when Leafy is describing actual play, he is generally both perceptive and informative.


i am it Says:

dePo-Melzer match/ injury/ retirement report (from Shanghai website):

The first set had a surprising trail with an easy leading of Melzer by 3-0. Del Potro asked a medical break, and went back to the court with thick bandage on right wrist. The set has became bit struggling since both of the players showed more unforced errors. When the score turned to 6-5, Melzer advantaging for server, Del Potro gave his opponent three set points. After a forehand return out, Del Potro lost the first set by 7-5.

Second set continued after a quick break. The Argentine couldn’t find his way back to game, and struggled to take over his serve set. Comparing, Melzer gave his opponent a love game in the second game of the set. Shocked news turned again that Del Potro decided to retire from the match by 2-1 in the second set.
———–
dePo suffered from similar wrist tendinitis earlier this year.


Ela Says:

HE HE Sean Randall, your predictions are worth as much as last year’s snow. Rafa beat Blake AGAIN. Start forecasting weather lol


i am it Says:

good news, something to mitigate my disappointment with dePo, is that dj. is cruising and is likely to straight-set Fognini, a quick job. dj’s march to the final looks inevitable.


sensationalsafin Says:

I hate tennis. My bracket is completely screwed up now. I don’t even feel like looking at it. I’m never going with the favorites again.

Safin is awesome. What a guy. That’s epic. Calling out Berdych and Roddick like that. Who’s gonna be the blunt badass when he retires? Certainly not politically correct Federer and Nadal, hell and even Djokovic. Roddick would never call someone out like that. Neither would Murray. If anything I’d say Fed is the best bet since he’s getting older and grumpier. But no one can replace Safin. I wish he would at least commentate once in a while for the sake of people hearing his thoughts. I can’t think of any other players who would use their brains once in a while.


i am it Says:

Dj dispatches fognini in a little over an hour, (1hr. 10 min.), 6-3, 6-1. Go dj !
Shuetller should be a piece of cake, while the winner of Simon/ berdych may not be that easy.


jane Says:

Yes grendel, seems you were.

i am it, sorry to hear your man retired. I was hoping he’d do well here but he’s worn out or something. Why did he retire?

Go Djoko… agree Simon/Berdych could be tough, especially Simon. Seems the Frenchies are on form in this swing.


i am it Says:

SS,
safin has a point. maybe, that’s how you drive your message home. nevertheless, he was a bit rude to Birdych.

from yahoo sports:

The big Russian, who is retiring after next month’s Paris Masters, suggested Berdych had feigned injury during his 3-6 6-4 6-4 win and said the Czech needed to “grow up”.

Then he rounded on Roddick and other players who have complained about the length of the season, saying he had suggested it should be made shorter in 2004 but had been shouted down.

The 29-year-old refused to shake Berdych’s hand after the match because his opponent called on the trainer to treat his knee in their second-round contest.

“Just come on; just grow up a little bit; 26 years old; just deal with that,” he said. “If you’re losing, just be a man; be a man and lose as a man.

“Don’t pretend that you are injured and then you start running around and start to hit winners and then all of a sudden you pull the hands up in the air after winning the match?

“So then of course the guy will say: ‘No, I’ve been injured but then I felt a little bit better’.

“Of course he will find 10,000 excuses. Still, it’s not enough. You’re playing or you’re not playing. If you’re playing, so just shut…up and play.”

On Monday, Roddick called on the ATP to reduce the length of the men’s season or risk shortening the careers of top players such as Roger Federer and Andy Murray.

“In 2004 we had this discussion in Olympic Games with Roddick about it and they were blaming me that I’m playing too much,” said former world number one Safin.

“And I was saying that the season is too long. We should make it shorter. And the guys, they jumped on me, like I was the one who was wrong.

“So look at all of them—everybody is falling apart. Everybody is getting injured left and right, and everybody is complaining the season is long. It takes six years to realise that something is wrong?

“They just have to deal with that, not when they are 21 and ambitious and want to make money. They have to think a little bit with their brains and to make the career a little bit longer.”

http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/news;_ylt=Am8X3GYpMRnyMn_UzKJuDyw4v7YF?slug=reu-shanghaisafin_pix&prov=reuters&type=lgns


jane Says:

“But no one can replace Safin. ”

Indeed. He was a bit “rude” as i am it says, but he definitely got his point across.

I see it was Delpo’s wrist; hope he gets better.


i am it Says:

j., i mentioned that above. dePo retired due to wrist injury. At 0-3 down in the 1st set, he asked for a medical break, and went back to the court with thick bandage on right wrist.
dePo suffered from similar wrist tendinitis earlier this year.
is this B.S. or real? i don’t know.


sensationalsafin Says:

Safin does raise an interesting point. Why is it that this generation abuses time outs so much? Federer and Roddick have both called out Djokovic for it at some point. Federer’s called out Nadal. Safin calling out Berdych. Etc. I’m not gonna start saying it’s all BS, but when they call a time out then come back to run around like rabbits and blast winners, then it’s obviously BS. But how often do you see Fed’s generation pulling those stunts. Hewitt, Ferrero, Roddick, Safin, Federer, etc, have never been known to do that crap. And it’s not like these guys are saints who never behave inappropriately. But I’ve never heard or seen these guys take time outs to disrupt the other guy’s momentum while they were losing.


sensationalsafin Says:

Del Potro really should’ve skipped the Asian swing. He’s going through what Djokovic did in 07. He’s young, he’s played more matches than ever and went really deep in 3 of the slams plus some good MS results. Now he’s just going through the motions. I think he should skip the remainder of the tournys until the WTF.


i am it Says:

SS, looking at the results, yes, dePo should have, but remember he withdrew from Cincy, so he could not afford to escape another Masters and pile up penalties plus there is a bonus pool of $6 million for top 12. if a player does not fulfill minimum requirement, he gets less or even zero, depending on severity of delinquency.


jane Says:

sensationalsafin, you, and safin, have a valid point. I am not sure it’s always to “disrupt the other guy’s momentum” though. The problem with injury/medical time outs is that sometimes they are entirely valid, i.e., retaping a toe or checking a tweak. Better to be safe than sorry. Also, sometimes guys might call the time out to get their head on straight, not to disrupt the other guy – that’s wrong too, of course, but I am just saying it may be more internally focused rather than external. Heck, the player might even believe something is really wrong even when there is nothing. SO – I guess it becomes really tough to monitor these things.

I am happy that Djok has cut way way back in this regard; he has not had many time outs since he hired that trainer after Miami – I think he had one or two for cramping in that 4 hour Madrid match with Rafa, but I don’t recall many others. He’s just been getting on with it, and that’s a relief. I hope that doesn’t change and he continues to exhibit strength and not fragility. Physically and mentally.


margot Says:

jane: bad news: u r missing matches. good news: u r missing commemtaries. here’s a nice one, Bobby something I think, can’t tell’em apart…”it’s deja vu all over again…”
btw second set of Rafa v. Blake was a humdinger, agree with grendel, Blake could be superb at net but it’s kinda late in his career to find that out, of course he’s had such a lot of physical problems and the scoliosis is really noticeable, can’t see him pounding his body in his thirties.


Vulcan Says:

ATP Grass Court Crash Course 101

A. Do not tamper with Wimbledon, it’s the holy grail of the sport.

B. Make Halle or Queens Club a Masters Series event and add an additional 250 event to replace it.

C. Rotate surfaces at TMC in proportion to the number of tournaments played on those surfaces during the year…ie TMC should be on clay at least every third year since something like 30-40%
of the calendar year tournys are clay…TMC could be played on grass perhaps once every 5 or 6 years.


sensationalsafin Says:

I agree that Djokovic has a done a good job cutting back. And I’m not saying it’s always to disrupt their opponents. I’ve seen Roddick call the trainer plenty of times, but I’ve never felt “what a cheap thing to do” because it was always something serious. If you get injured, then you get injured. But when you’re not injured and want a time out, then that’s not right because this is tennis and your only time outs are the change overs.


Voicemale1 Says:

grendel Says:
“Nadal wins 6-4 in the third – having been a break up, and then pulled back by a fighting Blake – but who cldn’t keep it up.
One delicious exchange between Fleming and Leif Shiras. Blake had expertly manouevred Nadal around, and moved up to the net for the kill – but netted the ball”

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

I watched on tennistv.com, so it’s surprising to hear Fleming say what he said. The side view of that volley showed exactly what was wrong with it technically. Blake took a backswing on that volley instead of just holding the racquet out in front of him, error #1; and he also dropped his wrist – which is why it went into the net. I’ll guess Fleming saw all of this and just chose not to say anything. But it wasn’t tough to see what was wrong with it.
- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

“Incidentally, we’re always hearing how Federer’s onehanded bh gets a hammering from Nadal even on non-clay courts. All I can report is that Blake’s onehanded bh was sizzling today.”

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

One caveat needed. The “non-clay” courts Federer’s Backhand gets successfully hammered by Nadal are the slow hard courts, like Australia. The surface at Laver Arena has a good bit of the grain on top of it, allowing Nadal’s uber topspin to do its work. The same surface can be found at Indian Wells and Miami, places where Nadal was also able to punish Blake’s backhand. The surface in Shanghai is more like an indoor carpet – it’s a much faster surface than any of the other three. Federer has beaten Nadal pretty handily in Shanghai both times they played there for precisely this reason.

The only ultra fast hard court where Nadal has beaten Federer was in Dubai in the 2006 Final, 26 64 64.


Twocents Says:

I’d like ask Djok to make sure that Shanghai1000′s trophy is just a classic crystal, not that antique ugly China Open bell from some nearby old temple in Beijing. He may injury himself lifting such heavy trophies two weeks in a row :-)).

O wind, if blue clay came in Mardrid, can faking grass be that far behind?


i am it Says:

Twocents, it is already here. there are already several artificial, synthetic grass courts in existence, one type contains silicon-based infill, known as a sand filled artificial grass surface. it replicate traditional grass courts in look and clay courts in feel, but it is wear-resistant and requires almost zero maintenance to keep them looking good (on TV, it looks better than natural grass). for maintenance, all you need to do is remove surface debris routinely, and there are hundreds of professionals in business to do this for you, in many countries, including UK and USA.
While the artificial grass gives good grip for the fast footwork, sliding to the ball is no problem.


grendel Says:

Voicemale1 – I couldn’t resist Fleming’s comment, which you must admit was quite funny. But w.r.t. to that volley, my impression – and it was some hours ago now – is that Blake was just out of position, in the sense that he wasn’t quite sure whether to come in on the bh or fh, hence he looked just slightly awkward (and perhaps that was responsible for the technical errors you noticed). In general, Blakes’ volleying was good, and I can’t understand why it has taken him so long to understand that this is something he can do well.

thankyou for your explanation of the surface, and how it affects the singlehanded bhs. Certainly the ball was not bouncing very high today.


i love fed Says:

ss
with all respect to safin and his views on timeouts but he is taking a year-long goodbye tour and what purpose is it serving? To be a spoiler? Like his own sister Safina said: I don’t agree with it, if you’re going to quit, then just QUIT!


sensationalsafin Says:

I’m not sure what that means but I don’t think it matters. I don’t think Safin cares what his words change or don’t change. Safin’s been like this his entire career. He just says how he feels. He doesn’t give a rat’s ass about what people make of it, he’s gonna say it anyway.


Twocents Says:

i am it,

Eye openning education, thanks. I thought only those corrupted officials in rural China painted their mountain in green (cuz they stole all government fund for tree planting). Now, if only I can get my neighbors not to complain about my state-of-the-art ATP grade lawn…


Twocents Says:

To some extent, Roddick is the same way like Safin: he talks when he wants to, not giving $$$ what others think. One big part of his charm to his fans.


grendel Says:

Come to think of it, why might Blake have been slightly out of position w.r.t. the volley? I wish I cld see the rally again, but I think he must have been deceived by the flight of the ball in the air – something one associates more with cricket than with tennis. But if someone is going to deceive you in the air, it will be Nadal.


i am it Says:

order of play:

2:00 am (ET)
davy vs. gonzu
step vs. Wawa

Aprox 4:00 am (ET)
sod vs. tsonga
monfils vs. Ljubicic

6:00 am (ET)
dj vs. Schuetller
simon vs. Berdych
melzer vs. F-lopez

8:00 am (ET)
rafa vs. robredo


Vulcan Says:

Hmm, Rafa Robredo….Robredo is a dead duck in that one…his game matches up very poorly with Rafas


GOAT Girl Says:

That’s what I love about Safin, he says it as it is without sugar-coating anything. Would that more people would be that honest.

At least you don’t have to worry if he’s spouting off behind your back after issuing mealy-mouthed platitudes.


jane Says:

This one is specifically for Djok’s fans; it touches on his transformations:

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=4557991&name=espntennis


i am it Says:

j., the 2nd one pretty much covered what the 1st one had stirred in my mind.
Dj. has a unique position to play the middle man and understands both sides as well as the process to get things done, as a council rep. this passage reminded me of my university days when i was part of student union and had little leverage to press on the administration, plus a lot of times, we would quit pushing agendas after kitchen table talks: “[They] talk about it between each other and in the locker room, [that] things that can be improved and then when the time comes to talk about it and really do something about it, they stop.”

we would have the Safin-like moments, too: certain issues were laughed at for a number of years, and later everyone would realize and give it a fresh start.
yeah, dj is right you cannot talk once a year in some locker room and expect a problem to be fixed. they need to act, and act in a manner it gets traction and satisfies both sides. sounded to me like a good diplomat who knows how to get things done. i am impressed.


Kimmi Says:

Verdasco chances of qualifying for YEC are slowly disappearing. Just a week and a half ago he was behind Roddick but now Tsonga and Davydenko have leapfrogged him. Losing early in Shanghai does not help either…I am still supporting him though; hopefully he can get one big results in the remaining tournaments. Vamos Verdasco.

I saw the race on BBC article (from 6 to 12) as of this monday.

6 Roddick 4920
7 Tsonga 3690
8 Davydenko 3665
9 Verdasco 3460
10 Simon 3250
11 Soderling 3020
12 Gonzalez 2775

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/tennis/8301329.stm


Kimmi Says:

Looking more and more like its going to be Djoko/Nadal final in Shanghai. The draw has opened up..Roddick and DelPo who were threats for both Djoko and Nadal are out. Tsonga and Sod will cancel each other..maybe the winner here can spoil the party.

On Djoko half if he can concentrate he has a good record against most of the top guys..great chance of making back to back finals and distance himself from Murray for No. 3.

Poor Murray, he did so well this year, things just didn’t work out..lets hope he comes back strong.


jane Says:

11 through 7 are still pretty close – a little more than 600 points separating them. Remember that Tsonga has to defend the Paris title, so if he falters there he could lose quite a few points. I don’t remember too much about the others, but I think Simon also did well in Paris last year, yes? So he’ll have to be careful too. Interesting Kimmi – thanks for posting that update!


Twocents Says:

Kimmi,

Don’t worry. Murray will come back strong. And if ever there’s a good time for injury, it is now, with all slams gone and YEC one and half months away.


Kimmi Says:

Jane: I agree its close but its only close between 7-9. 600 points between Tsonga/Davy and Sod is quite a lot for Soderling to catch up. 600 points is like reaching the final of Masters 1000 ..you know how difficult that is.

“Remember that Tsonga has to defend the Paris title, so if he falters there he could lose quite a few points.”

The race is equivalent to ranking points from begining of the year till Beijing, does not include points they have to defend; so it does not matter if Tsonga does not defend Paris..he already got 3690 points, he can only go up. You are confusing with 52 week rolling ranking where the points for last year will drop.

Anyone from No. 10 down needs a very big results to have a chance to qualify. Its getting harder and harder for these guys…but then lets wait and see/


jane Says:

Yes I am mixing up the rolling rankings with the race. Roddick is a lock, basically. Tsonga and Davy are so close that it looks at though they’ll probably secure the 7th and 8th spots unless Verdasco can do something special in the remaining events. I would rather see him there than Davy as he’s never been and may not get many more chances to make it. But then again, Davy is nothing if not consistent.

—————–

I agree with Twocents; this is probably about the best time for Murray to be injured, and I think he’ll come back super strong next year anyhow. Heck, he may even win the YEC with the rest and practice he’s having just now.


Kimmi Says:

Twocents: “Don’t worry. Murray will come back strong. And if ever there’s a good time for injury, it is now, with all slams gone and YEC one and half months away.”

Agree, but these guys work hard so that they can get a higher ranking at the year end. See how federer wants to finish No.1 this year..its important. I am sure Murray (or Nadal when he missed wimbledon) would have liked to fight for it, he even had a chance for no. 2 but then s**t happens.


Twocents Says:

For Murray, maybe he’s better off without no.2 before he wins his 1st slam? His biggest enemy is the Fleet Street. Lowering expectation may do wonders.
For Fed, slam & longevity > no.1 > DC?
For Nadal, Career slam > Wimbledon?

Something got to give. I’m actaully glad Murray & Fed are wine-ing instead of whining :-)).


Twocents Says:

Jane,

Would be really nice to see Murray win YEC in London, as good as Djok defend it. But I’m afraid Djok may be depleted by this Asian swing by then.


Kimmi Says:

“But I’m afraid Djoko may be depleted by this Asian swing by then:.

Nadal and Fed have won back to back to back to back tournaments in their career repeatedly, why not Djoko ? i think this will be the best time while other guys not too strong ?


Kimmi Says:

Twocents: “Something got to give. I’m actaully glad Murray & Fed are wine-ing instead of whining :-)).”

LOL, Good points.

I agree Murray needs to concentrate winning slam. And i am dead sure it will come, he is too good not to win one in his career. But ranking is also important. he was the first to break Fed / Nadal domination at least for three weeks.

Re: Fed, he loves his No.1. (slam & longevity = No.1 > DC ) ?


jane Says:

Twocents, the fact that Djok may be depleted if he does well at Shanghai in addition to having just won Bejing has crossed my mind too, but he has quite a bit of time between now and then, and he seems fit and motivated, so we’ll see, I believe he’s playing Basel and Paris too, so that may contribute to how he feels by the time he gets to the YEC.

Kimmi, not all players can be as consistent as Federer or Nadal, for various reasons. But Djok has gone very deep in consecutive tournaments a number of times so hopefully he can do that againn at the end of this season.

Mind you, if Murray can win the YEC I’d be pleased for him. What he needs most is a slam title imo. Hope he gets one next year for sure! Maybe Wimbledon. That would be ideal.


jane Says:

Kimmi re: Murray – “he was the first to break Fed / Nadal domination at least for three weeks.” True: in terms of the rankings Murray was the first to break up numbers 1 and 2 and crash the Fed-Nadal party, and Djok was the first to break up their slam-party, a.k.a., their domination of the slams for 2 and half, almost 3 years. So I think Djok and Murray are very deserving numbers 3 and 4, whichever one is 3 or 4.


Kimmi Says:

Jane I agree, actually breaking the slam party is more important. Del potro did it too.

“Kimmi, not all players can be as consistent as Federer or Nadal”

I agree, I think Djoko can do it, especially now he seem to be building a nice momentum. If he wins Shanghai he will have confidence and you know what confidence can do…


i am it Says:

Kimmi, just a random test on that list, your list gives Roddick 4920 race points. keep in mind he’s only has 4,830 ranking points as of today. it’s a common sense question: how could his Race Points be more than his Ranking Points?

in my math, roddick has 4410 year-to-date points.

and tsonga has 4100 ranking points. how could he have 3690 race points, when you drop Madrid (150), Paris (1000), Lyon (200), YEC (200) points, and add Bangkok (90) points?
as of today, without adding Shanghai points, tsonga 2640 year-to-date points.

the point is i will wait until ATP gives us another update.


Twocents Says:

Djok could’ve taken no.2 before 2009 AO from Fed, if only he added any MM tourney. But he didn’t do it. That alone told me he had/has his goal set on the pinacle. And I like that: it’s no.1 & the rest.

Yeah. With all these upcomers, Djok & Murray stand out.


Kimmi Says:

I am it: I only got the list from that BBC article. Unbelivable..everybody seem to be getting wrong. why are they publishing these wrong articles ? Can’t trust anybody now except ATP.

I just wish ATP have it available 24/7..its getting ridiculous.

OK, what is the correct numbers? I am sure tsonga must have moved quite a bit with his win in Tokyo.


jane Says:

Hey Kimmi, I am not sure whether breaking the slam party or the ranking party is more important. It’s just that Murray and Djoko made it the so-called “big 3″, then “big 4″, and now with Delpo “big 5″. And even if a person doesn’t go in for those “media” handles, what it means is that they are getting noticed by fans, media, etc, and that they are in the conversation in the big matches; they consistently show up and go deep in the bigger events. Djok has been to the YEC 3 times now, and Murray and Delpo twice. So there’s consistency growing (which matches the consistency of top ten stalwarts like Roddick, Davydenko and even, sort of, Gonzalez, who often sticks around late in the slams).

The more players “in the conversation”, and in contention for slams, the more exciting it is for all sorts of fans, imo, and the better for tennis, imo.


Giner Says:

Not shaking your opponent’s hand is bad sportsmanship. Safin is the one that should grow up.

He got beaten and that’s that. Even if Berd did fake his injury, it shouldn’t have affected the match. Did Safin start to go easy on the guy because he thought he had an injury? If so, he shouldn’t have. As long as he stays focused and doesn’t lose concentration, a time out should not have bothered him, whether the injury was real or not. If Safin was going to win had there not been a time out (because there was no injury) then he should have won if there was a fake injury. It’s all mental, and Safin lost to a headcase, which makes it worse.

If the injury was real, then all the more reason Safin shouldn’t have lost. At this point, he’s just making up excuses.

After Safin lost in the first round to Tursunov at Wimbledon, he got angry and said he would never come back to Wimbledon. He did the following year. I don’t even believe everything he says anymore. He says 2009 will be his final year on the tour. We’ll see. I will most definitely call him out if he plays again next year.

I don’t even like Berdych, but I like whiners (after a loss) even less. Leave that for fans and apologists.


Giner Says:

Twocents Says:

“Djok could’ve taken no.2 before 2009 AO from Fed, if only he added any MM tourney. But he didn’t do it. That alone told me he had/has his goal set on the pinacle. And I like that: it’s no.1 & the rest.”

Err, no. He tried but lost in the first round in Brisbane to Gulbis. Him not overtaking Federer isn’t because he didn’t want to, or because he had the bigger picture in mind: It’s because he failed to. He came within a match of #2 twice last year against Nadal, and if he had won one more match at TMC he would have done it there also.

Djokovic played as many tournaments as was possible to enter before the AO (2). You can’t say that he didn’t, because he did. Lost in the first round of Brisbane when he had a free opportunity to gain points (Federer wasn’t playing, and Djok wasn’t defending any points). Came one match short in Sydney from doing it there..

He failed to get #2 not because he didn’t play, but because he blew his chances.

“That alone told me he had/has his goal set on the pinacle. And I like that: it’s no.1 & the rest.”

This part makes even less sense. To get to #1, you have to get past the #2 guy along the way. You can’t leapfrog over the #1 guy without also leaping over the #2. What was his plan.. to get to #1 in a single tournament?

He had no chance of doing that at the AO since he was defending the title. He could only gain points before the AO, and during it if Federer loses early, which never happens at a major.


margot Says:

jane: what does “Roddick is a lock” mean please?
two cents: thanx 4 cheering words about Andy M., hope you, jane and kimmi are right. He’s always said his best is yet to come so I too am hopeful.


jane Says:

margot: ” what does “Roddick is a lock” mean please?” – LOL are you having a go at me? I meant to say he’s a lock for a spot in the final 8 YEC I believe. You should be hopeful about Murray; did you read that Agassi has picked him to do very special things in the future? These ex-champs must know a thing or two.


i am it Says:

“what does “Roddick is a lock” mean please?”
margot, your mind is like that wimbledon grass, dumb, because you executed me alive in the tower:)

it means he is certain to qualify to play in London, not on grass, though:)


margot Says:

jane,i am it: oi! not having a go, not being dumb pleeeeaaase. Don’t know term, really!! Is it a baseball term?


i am it Says:

yes, MGT, it’s a baseball term. do they play baseball in that beautiful country of yours?


margot Says:

i am it: possibly on US air force bases, but football is the national sport and nothing much else gets a look in.


grendel Says:

you mean get a lock in.

oops! sorry…..

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