Safin in Final Career Match Wednesday v. Del Potro in Paris?
by Staff | November 10th, 2009, 11:26 pm
  • 214 Comments

After three days of early round action, the top players finally hit the courts at the Paris Indoors, the final stop on the ATP’s regular season.

The day is highlighted by the appearance of all Top 5 players – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro – on Court Central.

In the opener, red hot Djokovic, who is coming off his three-set title win over Federer in Basel final, takes a 2-0 advantage against Argentina’s Juan Monaco, a winner today over Jeremy Chardy.

To follow in the match of the day, del Potro meets three-time BNP Paris champ Marat Safin in what could very well be the Russians final match of his career. Safin has said that he will retire at the conclusion of the 2009 season, and that end could come Wednesday.

“The closer the end is, the tougher it gets,” Safin said Monday. “The second part of the year was really heavy. I didn’t want to leave the house, fly somewhere and be out of my home for three, four weeks. Picking up the bags, going to the airport, staying in traffic, passport control, waiting for the bags again, it was getting really heavy.”

Nadal is on next against his countryman Nicolas Almagro. Nadal, who’s 4-0 against Nico, was Paris finalist two years, and the lefty remains alive for a year-end No. 1 finish.

“This tournament is always difficult, and this kind of surface is the most difficult of the year for me,” said Nadal. “But I always try my best to still improve and to play better and better. This year, I lost a little bit the rhythm in the middle of the season, because I had the injuries. But [it’s] tough to play after being injured. When I came back, I broke (sic) the abdominal, so it was a difficult second half of the year. But I’m going try to finish as good as possible.”

In final day match on center, French qualifier David Guez plays his countryman No. 15 Gael Monfils.

In the evening, Federer attempts to win his 60th match of the season when he takes on Frenchman Julien Benneteau. Federer’s most recent memory of Paris was his historic French Open triumph in June.

“It’s going to be a very tough match, but I’m really motivated,” said Benneteau, who has a 0-2 record against Federer. “Playing against Federer on Center Court in Bercy is an extraordinary experience, and I really wanted to do that. I will try not to think too much about him. I will rather think about my own game.”

The final match of the day puts Murray, who leads the ATP with six titles this year, against American James Blake. This is the third meeting between the two (tied 1-1). Murray is coming off a title run in Valencia.


Also Check Out:
Federer, Nadal Cruise Into Wimbledon Semifinals
Marat Safin Elected To Russian Parliament
Safin Returning to Tennis, Senior Tennis
ATP Injuries Mount: Juan Martin Del Potro Withdraws From Paris
Juan Martin Del Potro Was Robbed Today At A Paris Train Station

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214 Comments for Safin in Final Career Match Wednesday v. Del Potro in Paris?

huh Says:

I’d like DP to win in this match, at least he’d challenge the other guys. As much as I love and respect Safin, it’d be a shameful if he beats DP and then goes out easly in the next round. However I hope and I want that Safin tries his best and not lose this match from a winnable position, which he’s so notoriously famous for.


Duro Says:

And a great career is over… My compassion, sensational.


Gen Says:

He will be missed he gave it his all fought till the end against Del Potro, thx Safin for years of entertainment.


Duro Says:

For i am it, to safe his energy. Read from the bottom.

3.01: It’s all over. Del Potro wins in three sets, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 and Marat is off to enjoy a well deserved retirement. I’ll watch the ceremony then report back.

2.59: Marat wastes a 0-15 by netting next up. Much shrugging and eyebrow-rasing. Pure Marat.

2.54: The most freakish let-cord ever from a shot going out lobs Marat, but he returns and Delpy obliging looongs his next shot, out of fairness wou’d almost think. Ad Marat, then back to deuce. He paints the T on the next one at the end of a long rally and acknowledges the crowd. Ad Marat, (MarAd?), big second serve and he holds! 4-5!

2.52: 5-3. DelPy dominates, sends Marat back and forth and the big man’s legs aren’t following. The last rites? Marat double-faults to open… 0-15… 0-30. Ace! 15-30… Big serve, 30s. Easy forehand netted – 30-40, retirement point… Second serve… staves it off with one into the corner! Gutsy! Deuce.

2.46: 4-3, Marat holds despite being 0-30. C’mon big man, davai bolshoi er… whatever man is in Russian. Dig deep! A Mexican wave goes around the stadium to encourage him.

2.45: 4-2, DelPo holds. Is that that? Clé breaks to lead 2-1 in the decider…

2.40: 3-2. Marat holds and the crowd are sooooo behind him!

2.36: 3-1 Del Po. What can Marat do now?

2.32: The tennis is there but the legs aren’t moving as they should. Break point DelPo and he needs no second bidding. 2-1, and John Martin of the Pot to serve.

La Clé takes the second set, serving out to love.

2.29: Haas saves a couple of set points but Clé is still a break up and about to serve for the set. DelPo serves calmly and makes it 1-0 in the decider.

2.23: Marat takes my advice, strides to the net, breaks to 15 and takes the set 7-5! There’s life in the old dog yet! What a man – pouncing like that in the 12th game! Whooshka.

2.18: The 6-5 special’s coming down the track, with Marat riding it. Two big serves got him out of that slight pickle. Tie-break at least. Come on Marat, treat DelPo’s next service game like a tie-break… All or nothing, as Milli Vanilli might have said.

2.17: Deuces wild. Marat saves a break point, wastes an ad. Too many shots hit long.

2.15: Marat fans, write in with your encouragements and I’ll print them off and hand them to him at the change-over. Honest.

2.13: 5-5. The tension… 2-1 Clé, deuce on the Haas serve on No1.

2.09: 30-30 but Marat digs out a beaut of a drop then follows it up with the ol’ left-right-left combo (that’s where he hit it, not which hands he used, he’s not Maria Sharapova) and it’s 5-4. Will Maratik thrill us with one last epic tie-break? Come on big fellah, you’re breaking up with us, give us one last frisson to remember you by…

2.06: 4-4. Safin is half a step slow and is skew-whiffing balls wide, to his chagrin. Haas meanwhile won the opener 7-5.

2.02: 4-3 Safin. Come on, big fellah, time to serve up something special. Give us one last thing to remember you by.

1.56: 3-2 Safin. He’s serving well but snatching at too many shots early in the rally, as is his wont.

1.52: 2-1 DelPo with serve. Comedy at one point when Marat dominated, dropped, sent a net volley at a really tight angle just over the net that DelPo returned from behind his back and then Marat sliced into the net, with JMdP basically sitting in the front row of the crowd, he was that wide. Marat and he both had a laugh about it and the fans – in a packed arena today – loved it.

Clé and Haas are going deuces wild. Tommy is serving DF after DF at 6-5… The tension…

Ooh, 2-2 as Marat serves out at a canter.

1.37: Clément’s second ace makes it 5-4, Haas blasts back to 5-5, and DelPo serves out to 30 to take the first set 6-4. Solid stuff from the world No5 and US Open champion. I’m off to sample the atmosphere out there so I’ll be back in about 10 minutes.

1.36: DelPo holds, Marat does likewise, both comfortably. DelPo to serve for the set now… Hold your breath…

1.30: 4-3, DelPo breaks. Inevitably really. 15-40, DelPo dictates and Marat, as is his wont, tries to paint the lines and he can’t do it three times in a row. Of the Pot wins the psychologically crucialissimo seventh game. Ouch. The Russian flags in the crowd are at half mast.

1.27: DelPo slips a tad as Marat sends him hither and thither and it’s a break point! Second serve, Marat nets. The crowd groan. You like the idea of Marat and groaning on the same line, don’t you? He screws one wide next up, and then a big Of the Pot service makes it threes. A chance gone begging there…

1.24: The key – La Clé – Arnaud Clément – Nono – (enough nicknames already) breaks back and holds. Haas then levels it up at three a-piece on the back of his third ace. The crowd are right behind Arnaud, as you’d expect.

1.21: Two each a-piece. DelPo holds at a canter which is only fitting as a Potro is a young horse. Apparently it’s a gelding, which is a horse that cannot reproduce as it’s been… well… you know what-ed, and fortunately DelPo didn’t you know what himself when attempting that hot dog. And in any case, you don’t hot-dog Marat. Ooh, 3-2 Marat as the broody Muscovite holds to 15. Swift.

1.16: Marat holds to love. You like that combination of words, don’t you? He dropped again, DelPo dug it out but Marat lob-volleyed and John Martin of the Pot’s attempted hot-dog didn’t work. Unfortunately for Sa-fans, the lanky Argentine didn’t injure his knees (or indeed anything else – hoo cha cha) whilst attempting the through-the-legger, so Marat’s going to have to win fair and square. 2-1 to Captain Gorgeous though. Ooh, and 0-15 on the DelPo serve while I was waxing lyrical.

1.14: DelPo holds to love. Marat had a chance of the last point but chose to slice a drop when he had the court wide open, and it skewed wide.

1.11: Safin holds the opener, to the delight of the crowd! It took him a deuce though. One of the ladies behind a Russian flag in the front row was an absolute dead ringer for Anastasia Myskina, who won the French Open just across Paris in 2004. Maybe it was her as I saw her at Roland Garros this year, looking as radiant as ever.

Haas has broken Clément and is showing no signs of rustiness…

1.02: Tommy Haas – recovered from the swine flu that kept him out of action for two weeks – is taking on Arnaud Clément on Court No1.

12.56: Out come Juan Martin Del Potro and Marat Safin. The lights are flashing, the sound system pumping and there are Russian flags everywhere. What an atmosphere.

12.45: Djokovic wins, 6-3 7-5 and will face the winner of Haas and Clément in the third round. I wonder what happened for 20 minutes out there when he lost five in a row…

12.41: Söderling is through, 8-6 in the tie-break. He’ll face Nikolay Davydenko in the next round in something of a London World Tour Finals play-off (Davy is seventh, Söd ninth). Davy is almost home and hosed, while Bobby Sod needs to overtake Nando Tabasco Verdasco, who incidentally had a real lush head of hair going on yesterday when I interviewed him – a real curtain cut, swished back on either side. It’s no wonder Ana and Serena succumbed to his charms.

Djoker breaks, and it’ll be him to serve for the match! Djoker wins two games, Monaco five, Djoker four… I’ll ask him what happened when I go and interview him later on.

12.35: 5-5. Both between Monaco and the Djoker in games and Karlovic and Bobby Sod in the second set tie-break. Ooh, 6-5 Söderling, Karlovic to serve… Boom! 6-6 at the change-over.

12.28: 5-3 Monaco, 0-30. Can the Djoker shake off his lethargy? Yes! 0-40, after Djoker laid down two drops that were a tad too long but good enough, mainly thanks to the lob that came in between (Monaco eschewing the hot-dog possibility as he scampered back). Monaco nets after a long rally and it’s 4-5, back on service…

12.20: While waiting for the Djoker and Bobby Sod to stroll through, why not enter the Caption It competition? There are two excellent books to be won – The Roland Garros 2009 retrospective and the “Hors Court” catalogue with artistic portraits of over 80 top players. Most people drool over the Marat one but it’s Tatiana Golovin’s that I like best.

Ha, jinxed before I even publish. Monaco wins four games in a row – told you his service wasn’t quite firing perfectly… 5-4 Karlovic, Bobby Sod to serve on No1 court.

12.08: Just been courtside to (a) see how my son was enjoying the show and (b) analyse the Djoker’s game. He leads 2-1 with a break in the second, thanks to Monaco’s radar being off in the first service game. Djoker’s service is a little hit and miss and he’s trying to hit the cover off the ball all the time so occasionally missing his spots. Little in the way of slice – just pure power. There was also a funny moment when he sent up a desperate lob that pinged off the stanchion overhead that holds up the big screens.

Karlovic meanwhile leads 3-2 with serve in the second.

11.52: First set Djoker 6-3, first set Söderling 6-4. The established order is respected, though big Ivo took Bobby Sod to a deuce there in a final fling (as far as the set is concerned).

11.47: Djoker breaks to 15 thanks to some lovely sliced drops. Giving Johnny Monaco the run-around, he is, and let’s face it, the Djoker is the man on form – he beat Federer in Basle, for heaven’s sake. Söderling meanwhile is about to serve for the set.

Am distraught that Sophie down below has doubted my Italian pronunciation down below, particularly since I was in Rome for the ATP and WTA tournaments this year. Seppi. It’s pronounced Seppi. Otherwise it’d be Sipi! Anyway, I hope Marat puts in a good performance for you – and everyone else – in an hour or so’s time.

11.37: Jinxetty jinx! Second serves pounced on and Bobby Sod breaks, slicing the ball down low at the giant Croat’s feet – canny stuff. He likes Paris, does Bobby – just ask Rafa…Monaco and Djoker meanwhile are going deuces wild on the Argentinean’s service.

11.30: Djokovic breaks back, that’s more like it. My predictions? All the seeds except Söderling and Robredo. Haas – Clément will be interesting though… 3-2 Djoker already…

11.24: Karlovic carves out a break point against Bobby Sod but the Swede survives. He was forced out of Stockholm and Valencia due to a shoulder injury that may still be plaguing him – we shall see, but he’s looking pretty ginger out there. 3-3 there, and it’s 2-1 Monaco after a Djoker hold.

11.17: Johnny Monaco breaks to open! That’s the way to do it! On No1 court we have Robin Söderling, hereafter Bobby Sod, taking on the giant Croat Ivo Karlovic, and it’s 2-1 to big Ivo already.

Breaks are often easier to come by early doors before players have got their eyes in and their shoulders loose. Well done Johnny, who has just held and so is two up.

11.05: Good morning one and all, and we’re about to get under way with what is probably the most exciting day of tennis of the entire year. Djokovic, Del Potro, Safin, Nadal and Monfils in the afternoon, Federer and Murray in the evening.

The Djoker and Johnny Monaco are out on court already, with Monaco wearing the cheetah print shirt that Verdasco had on yesterday. My predictions are lousy so I want you to write in with some decent predictions please…


Dave B Says:

I have been watching the Paribas tournament on Tennis Channel. I do not understand all of the extraneous sound effect in the background. They are annoying and distracting. Is this some innovation at Bercy? I wish they would ditch it right away.


i am it Says:

Duro, thanks a bunch.
i am elated to see all my favs, four out of four, are through: DelPo, Dj, Soderling, and Clement.

Now, the first are obvious, but you tell me why i wanted Sod and Clement to win. this is tactical for your and my favs.


i am it Says:

Duro, Guess what, i would like Isner to beat Gonzu, for DelPo’s sake. i don’t want DelPo to face Gonzu in the next round, but DelPo-Clash is looking more inevitable as Gonzu has taken the 1st set. and you already know who else i want to see win today.


i am it Says:

Rafa is down a set and break down. he is plagued by unforced errors, so far 17. he is rattled, and his camp is looking gloom. Almagro is hitting much cleaner. looks like the biggest of the day is brewing, but rafa often finds a way to come back. let’s see how he does this time.
if he goes down today, Fed will clinch the No. 1 ranking for ’09.


i am it Says:

rafa gets 3 break point opportunities in the 4th game, 2nd set. he levels the set in the 3rd attempt and it is 2-2. he is absolutely in the match.


Sean Randall Says:

Nice that Safin gave a strong final performance. He’ll be missed.

Rafa indeed in serious trouble. Nico hitting the ball very cleanly but even though he’s up a set and a break it’s far from ova!

i am it, does Fed mathematically secure No. 1 if Rafa loses today? I think Rafa can still pass him.


i am it Says:

Sean, let’s see.
Federer——-10,140
Rafa———-8,845 +0 (Paris) =8,845
Difference= 1295.
minus 40 points that Rafa will gain from DC.

Not exactly. but yes, virtually, because Rafa will have to win YEC without losing a single match, which looks improbable, if not quite impossible.

Granted Fed wins next 2 rounds, 10140 + 180 =10,320

now the difference = 10,320-8845 = 1475.

Fed won’t have sealed the deal yet.
if we are looking at 1500 differential, Fed needs to reach Semi, in which case
Fed = 10,500
the difference would be 10,500-8,845 = 1,655
minus Rafa’s DC points = 1,655-40 =1,615


Sean Randall Says:

i am it, thanks.

Just eyeballing if Fed reaches the semifinals he’ll clinch. Rafa cannot make up a 1,600-1,700 pt lead after Paris.

I think Rafa will win this match anyhow.


Duro Says:

i amt it, the reason is obvious. To avoid Haas (I think there was no need to, this time) and to “find” someone to beat Davy. Right?


jane Says:

I can barely post: bye Safin. Way to go out fighting.
: (

Thanks for the play-by-play Duro.


i am it Says:

Sean, you may be right about Rafa’s winning this match, at the end, if it goes to the distance. He is doing pretty good defensively, even if his offense is not as effective as he expects it to be.

currently, this set is heading to a tie breaker, as rafa misses his 2 set-point chances (5-5). in the tie, it is anyone’s game. if rafa happens to be the lucky one, he is likely to win the deciding set, as he usually does, esp. against a Spaniard, considering Almagro is getting a little bit tighter and rafa is gaining confidence.


i am it Says:

Duro, you nailed it, man. Soderling is the man who can take care of hot Davy in an Indoor setting, as Sod leads 5-3 overall.


jane Says:

i am it, I am happy also that Soderling got through; good for him. Looks like Rafa is in trouble right now, though. 4 doubles, 53% first serves. Not good. And Djko said in his post match interview that he “didn’t feel great” on the court. He’s been playing a lot of tennis since the USO; I wouldn’t be surprised if he loses in the quarters here. Or even next round, although he should get past Clement.

Another break point for Almagro – and he gets it. Wow, Rafa is really struggling; I feel badly for him.


i am it Says:

Rafa saves sort of match point there with a sharp wide serve and follow-ups smashes. but he double faults and gives Almagro another mini-Set point. Almagro throws forehand wide in the corner. my heartbeat rose to its limit for a second.
a courageous volley plus overhead from Almagro gives him 3rd chance to break here.
rafa shanks a backhand into the net, as he was sort of forced, and Al breaks. He will be serving for the set.


jane Says:

Nico’s attacking Rafa’s backhand?


rose Says:

por nadal playing horrible..way too many unforced errors ..feel bad for this guy


been there Says:

ok…what happened to Almagro…the match should have been over like 6 minutes ago!


jane Says:

I guess he’s attacking the forehand too since it’s been so errant. You have to give Nico credit, a guy with so much talent who’s never been able to really capitlalize on it. He’s got a beauty of a backhand and a wicked serve when it’s firing.


rose Says:

nadal’s game has changed a lot since rolland garros..ge looks so uncomfortable and upset whenever he is on court. this game is just a terrible performance from nadal…he is not attacking just defending. it seems like the players in the locker room totally lost the fear of playing against nadal and nadal lost his confidence and fire. too bad for tennis . kid was entertaining to watch ..i really hope he comes strong next year cause this season is over for him.


i am it Says:

two long UEs from Rafa, and Al is 2 points away from winning his 1st against Rafa.
brilliant backhand down the line from Al, and it is triple MP.
Rafa saves first with his FH from inside the court.
Al goes a little too wide. 2 down, 1 to go.
and rafa finds a way to hit FH. Deuce.
rafa throws one wild FH in the air.
4th MP for Al.
another FH long from Al. he challenges. call stands. Deuce.
Al serves down the T ace. 5th MP for Al.
another BH wide from Al after crazy defense from rafa. Deuce. 2nd serve.
another FH long, and rafa gets 1st Break Point. the crowd goes crazy, and his FH in the corner gives him the break. 6-6. what a turnaround.


jane Says:

Well, classic Rafa! He fights and takes it to a tiebreak. How almost predictable. LOL.


rose Says:

lol jane..true true..classic nadal


rose Says:

i guess paris still doesnt like nadal.. crow booing for him to serve quick ..


Sean Randall Says:

Nadal escapes 40-0 and FIVE matchpoints. Almagro must feel like he just got run over by a car! Tough ask for him to win the breaker now after having gagged.


i am it Says:

yes, j., it is so predictable that rafa holds from the brink of losing (5 match points), and it looks he is gonna win the 2nd set and eventually win the match in the 3rd.
rafa 4-1 in the tie means he is gonna do it one more time.


rose Says:

oh my..he still has heart tho..nicely done nadal


Karthick Says:

Hi Please update me about the match frequently.I am a nadal fan and would like him to win this match


been there Says:

What can I say about Almagro…shame on him…lol. Nothing more. But that’s to be expected of a Spaniard playing Rafa. Squared several match-points at 6-3,6-5, 0-40 (+many opportunities at deuce 40-40 2nd set.

Levelled at 1 set all. The match is now Nadal’s for the taking.


been there Says:

@11:48am, Squared s/g squandered


i am it Says:

rafa will win the 3rd set 6-1 or 6-2.
Al is totally humiliated and has lost all hope. on the other hand, rafa will play freely and start pounding from the outset, no more defensive recluse.
watch Al might get broken in the opening game, if not, he will be broken in the 3rd game and so on.


jane Says:

Also it was 40-0 “been there” since Nico was serving for the match. It was quite a loss, but on the other hand, the way I saw it Rafa was hitting everything back. As i am it said, great defense from Rafa turned it around.

Kind of surprised Rafa has blisters as he hasn’t played since China, but he did play a scorcher of a doubles match yesterday.


Sean Randall Says:

Never underestimate the power of Almagro to gag.


i am it Says:

what did i tell you? rafa break Al in the opener and will hold easily to lead 2-0. then 3-0. expect a quick job.


i am it Says:

not quite. 3 BP for Al.
is Al gonna prove me wrong? did not see that coming. and Al breaks. 1-1.


rose Says:

didnt nadal retired from this same tournament last year for blisters also?..woww..nico broke back ..nadals concentration is really poorly today


been there Says:

i am it, you are so right. I was ready to write ‘Vamos Almagro’ when he got to 40-0 triple matchpoint….then I thought, no, wait…one way or the other, he’s gonna find a way to self-destruct. ‘coz if I’m not wrong, all the three matchpoints were erased by unforced errors? For some reason, I’m here laughing ‘coz he was in total control…even when Rafa was winning points, thy were mostly due to UE from Almagro. At 6-3, 6-5 to Almagro, they showed forehand winners stat: 17 Almagro, 2 Nadal!

Yet somehow, somehow, he’s given the match away. This is called a big choke of unbelievable proportions. He should now retire and let Rafa get well rested for his next match. lol….yet I might be proved wrong ‘coz apparently, the match isn’t over. So I keep on watching……


rose Says:

nico is wining this one ..nadal is just playing horrible..we only got a lil glimpse of vintage nadal on the last game/tie break of the 2nd set .nico did shocked on the set but who is shocking now????..lets way and see


been there Says:

rose, you might be right. What a roller-coaster of a match!

I nitially wanted Almagro to win…but after losing his head in the 2nd set, I feel it’s only right that Rafa gets the match.

Rafa trying to break back at 3-1 Almagro 3rd set….the script continues!


i am it Says:

Al gets another triple BP. that’s insane. and rafa cannot pick up the volley. he gets broken. 1-3. i am watching this match cluelessly.
Where has the Rafa of the last game of the 2nd set and the tie break vanished?

suddenly that rafa re-appears in one point, 15-30. disappears in the next with FH long. 30-30. Al serves ace. 40-30. rafa throws FH long and challenges but it is in. lucky him. Replay the point. this is a critical game for both, sort of decider.
Al throws an easy FH long across down the line. Deuce. Al misses another easy one. Rafa gets 1st BP.
Al serves big down the T. Deuce.
Rafa mishits BH slice. Game point for Al.
another easy long from Al. Deuce.
Al plays really well next point, 1-2 punch. Game point. Al throws back hand long. Deuce.
beautiful cross-court back hand from Al. Game point.
Rafa hits nice forehand short angle from well inside. and Al throws one out. Break point for Rafa. 2nd serve. Rafa throws wide an easy FH down the line. Deuce.
Al shanks in the net. BP for Rafa. horrible backhand at the net from Al gives Rafa the much needed break to stay in the match. this could be the 2nd turning point in rafa’s favor. 2-3.


Duro Says:

I don’t know who’s gonna win it and maybe you all think that Nadal is superhuman after saving 5 match points, but let me tell you this: Nadal, number 1 in the world – never again!


jane Says:

Duro I am always very careful about saying “never”, perhaps especially when Rafa is part of the equation. lol.


i am it Says:

i think Almagro will retire, if he has not already.


been there Says:

ok, when I said Almagro “should now retire and let Rafa get well rested for his next match” @12:02pm, I didn’t mean it quite so literally! I was just being silly, yet somehow he seems to know what am typing. lol

Hope it’s not a serious injury. Drama.


jane Says:

It’s just cramping I think, no? I think he’ll play out the match, and why not?


rose Says:

i totally agree with jane “never ” is a strong word ..nadal has proved what he can do when he is 100% physically and mentally ..so predicting now that he will never be # 1 again is too soon :)


sensationalsafin Says:

Am I the only one who thinks this is completely ridiculous and Nadal should throw a fit for this crap?


i am it Says:

looks like Al is enjoying homoerotic pleasure in the massage. he was blushing and smiling when the trainer’s hands got nearer there.


sensationalsafin Says:

Writing off Nadal is as stupid as writing off Federer. Just wait till the clay season.


rose Says:

i thought almagro injury was serious but it seems like not..just wondering ???..oh gosh nadal ..seriously ..


i am it Says:

Almagro breaks again. He will be serving for the match, one more time. Go Al !


Duro Says:

Those times are over, Jane. He was once, but he’s different now. Look at his body. He looks skinny! Someone would say, it’s good for his knees, but all the power is gone! I watched on Youtube his worming up in the lockerroom before the final match with Rog 2008. He looked like a beast! Agile, unsettled, restless, exalted! The muscles were pumping all over the room! Like possessed! He’s different person now. The peek is only once in somebody’s life. He’s passed it.


i am it Says:

Al makes a couple of errors. and repetition of the last set?


jane Says:

Sheesh, loads of drama in this match. Three hours and counting…


sensationalsafin Says:

Federer passed his peak and he still got back to number 1.

I don’t think I’ve seen so many blown leads in a 3 set match in a long time.


i am it Says:

yes, it is the repetition of the curse. Al gets broken and gives Rafa life again. 4-5. if rafa holds here, he will win.


rose Says:

this game is so freakin weird..both players are just playing terrible tennis …
@ duro..i give you that duro ..nadals body has changed completely.


sensationalsafin Says:

-_- this is ridiculous. Almagro isn’t trying to win he’s just trying to hit winners. I hate tennis.


jane Says:

Duro – I’d like to think I’ve had more than one peak in my life. Teee heee. Haw haw. I still don’t think we can rule out Rafa. I want to see how he bounces back next year. People have written him off before and yet he’s managed to prove them wrong. So for me anyhow, the jury is still out.


sensationalsafin Says:

Both players are playing bad but Nadal is still trying to win. Almagro doesn’t actually believe he’s supposed to win. Nadal’s body is fine. You guys are reading too much into things.


i am it Says:

though rafa is certain to win now, Al deserved more. poor Al, squandered 5 MP and another service game, i feel for him.


sensationalsafin Says:

WHY IS ALMAGRO ALLOWED TO BE A PROFESSIONAL TENNIS PLAYER??!!


jane Says:

I agree with sensationalsafine; Almagro has checked out. The crowd are trying to rally him but he just wants off the court. Rafa, meanwhile, wants to win. And he will.


been there Says:

The 3rd set has now become a joke. It’s now a question of ‘who will have more unforced errors?’


sensationalsafin Says:

That’s cool Almagro. Maybe I should be a pro tennis player. I can stand in the middle of the court with straight legs and just try to hit the ball really hard.


sensationalsafin Says:

I want to fly over to Paris and punch Almagro in the face. How fast was that last serve? 5 mph? Maybe 10 if he was lucky. He should just let Nadal hit 4 aces. Hell, he probably will.


i am it Says:

in losing this match, Al wins the title of Mr. Choker and Mr. Dram King of the Year.


sensationalsafin Says:

This is why Almagro will never be a great player. So he’s a little injured, it’s the very end of the match. There won’t be any other sets left. Just give it everything you worthless excuse of an athlete.


huh Says:

COME ON RAFA!!!


jane Says:

sensationalsafin and i am it, you two are hilarious. ss, I can see you boarding a plane just to land that bunch, while i am it gives Almagro the awards. haha

What a shame and a tragic arch. There WAS some fantastic play by Almagro in that match, but he needs to work on his fitness if a first round match that goes 3 hours makes him cramp that badly. Maybe if he was fitter he’d've come through? He’s got the shots for crying out loud.

Anyhow … next?


jane Says:

*bunch should be PUNCH, of course.


Voicemale1 Says:

Murray and Federer will be playing well into the night now.


Sean Randall Says:

Amazing how many times Almagro crumbled once he seized the lead.


sensationalsafin Says:

Another player who had potential and wasted it, Berdych. The stadium is empty so you can really here the pop of all his shots. They’re rockets. He was supposed to be the next Safin. Well I guess he was, he just took it to a new level of talent waste.


huh Says:

It’s so disgusting to see the shots of Almagro being cheered while not a single person seems to be supporting Rafa! DUMB PARISIANS! They’re not respecting their second greatest champ after Borg, shame on them! So much for Federer’s sake! Fed doesn’t need this. I hope Rafa performs well here, the Parisians need to be cut to size and the only way it’s gonna happen is if Rafa does well.

And the good news is RAFA WON!!! :) :) :)
It’d have been such a shame if Rafa lost today to Almagro. But needn’t worry anymore. ;)


jane Says:

Rafa was clearly off his game; there were flashes of it here and there, and his serve seemed to improve at points. But he’ll need to up the level considerably. He’s lucky his first two rounds aren’t too tough, and if he can get through them and improve as he goes maybe he can do something here. These sorts of battles can sometimes be just what a player needs.


been there Says:

Match Nadal. Vamos to both…Rafa for the win & Almagro for the tenacity to dare really challenge Rafa for the first time ever. There’s hope for other Spanish players afterall…even Robredo. lol

Poor Almagro…he did himself really bad in 2nd set…quite shameful. @least he gave himself chances in third set until he got a little hampered by a little injury. Indeed, the better tennis player today (by that I mean serve, winners, ground-strokes, etc…before anyone over-reacts), but ultimately, he gave up.

Hmmm….quite a dramatic match…just the way I love them….some tennis + a bit of drama. :)


jane Says:

huh – I agree. The Parisians are rude to Rafa in particular. What’s up with that? Sheesh. Rafa has given them nothing but glorious clay tennis at Roland Garros. His run to the French Open title in 2008 was nothing short of sublime.


huh Says:

Mrs. Jane:

I’ve hardly, if ever, seen Rafa playing so badly. One of the worst matches of his life, but thank God , he at least won! His serving, strokes, court coverage, just everything was so off. But even with everything going against him, he didn’t give up! :) That’s why he’s so great to watch! Yes.


i am it Says:

j., “crams that badly”? that cramp drama is often just BS. when Al failed to hold and lead 4-1 in the 3rd, the cramp suddenly appeared. i don’t believe a bit. that cramp was a surrender, puzzlement, breathing time to think if you can do anything when you are clueless, or delude oneself and the rest of the world that he lost because he had this sudden cramp, etc.
this does not mean you never have on-court cramp, but we should also remember that ankle twist/ wrist injury/ cramp and the like often used as alibis.


sensationalsafin Says:

I don’t believe in the cramp either. I think it was an excuse for Almagro to stop moving. Lazy bum.


jane Says:

I see what you mean i am it – I do believe cramping is real, for instance, when it’s really hot and/or the player has had a super long and physical match. But in this case, it wasn’t hot and nor were these two playing long and grinding points. So it was a bit surprising. Ah well. It’s over. And the better fighter won.


Voicemale1 Says:

Nadal isn’t the best player ever, or even now. But you could make a case he’s the most courageous player we’ve seen in a long, long time. Maybe ever. This is the second time this year he’s saved 5 Match Point in the 2nd Set before taking the third. He did it to Nalbandian at Indian Wells back in March.

He won’t win this tournament. But after a match like today, he’ll feel like he can still gut a match out even when he’s not playing well.


i am it Says:

another miserable creature but big talent goes home with straight-set loss, i.e. Berdych.


sensationalsafin Says:

But this match would be like a false sense of confidence. In IW, he saved match points then dominated the final set. Here, Almagro was still the better player even in the third set. Nadal’s tenacity got to Aldumbass and he gave up. Someone else might not be so generous.


huh Says:

” jane Says:
huh – I agree. The Parisians are rude to Rafa in particular. What’s up with that? Sheesh. Rafa has given them nothing but glorious clay tennis at Roland Garros. His run to the French Open title in 2008 was nothing short of sublime.”

To tell you the truth Mrs.Jane, I am feeling really very sad to see such disrespect for a great champ like Rafa. :( I don’t like Rafa’s game too much, but even then I cannot imagine what the Parisians are doing to him. They also called him an ‘ogre’ as you have said far back, it must not be tolerated if Rafa’s insulted in this way. Even a no-Rafa-lover like me is getting mad about such injustice. I was silent about this ogre matter then.But after seeing what was happening in Rafa’s match today, it’s easy to understand the underlying cause for terming Rafa as such. After all it was a French newspaper supposedly.

Heck, even when Rafa was No.1, he was not being treated as such, it’s a fact which almost anyone except Rafa haters could realise and admit. Don’t you agree Mrs. Jane?

I mean just SHEESH AND SHEESH!


i am it Says:

VM1, i must agree with you on this, as you are usually up to the mark when it comes to rafa.


huh Says:

Cramp, what cramp?


madmax Says:

guys,

Shocking match from rafa. Al should have nailed it – 5 MATCH POINTS AND serving for the match in the second set? Hello? knock! knock! anyone there?! –

I have had cramp ONCE in my life – horrendous – so it looks as if Al cramped up – but got to hand it to nadal. It was NOT his tennis that won the match, they both played horribly at times, but rafa’s will to win. where there is a will there is a way – and rafa found it! And he is skinny guys. Look how much weight he has lost around the top half of his body – he was muscle bound pre tendinitis – now, he has had to lose weight to take the pressure off his knees and i think because of this, this has impacted on his game – nadal is different, he plays differently, he is more conscious now of his previous injury and worries more about his knees than where he is going to drop the ball – I didnt enjoy watching this match -AT ALL! Almagro threw the game away, rafa believed he could still win, that was the difference. Got to hand it to rafa. He was very close to losing the first round -
Amalgro will be reliving this game over and over, kicking himself – This is tennis.

Just watched the ‘goodbyes’ video from some of the players for Safin, and feel really sad – 12 years playing on the circuit – just feel really sad – may be he’ll have second thoughts?


Duro Says:

sensational, are you angry with everyone and everything? I’m not responsible that your beloved Marat retired. Can you try not to refer to my posts in such manner, ok? If you disagree or do not know why I think the way I think, you could simply ask me: “Duro, why do you think that Rafa will never be number 1 in the world again?” That’s the way posters should communicate or we will have a slaughter here. I’ll control myself for now, but I’m just informing you how I feel about that kind of addressing to me or my posts.

Nadal is not playing like he used to. He lost 6 or 7 kilos of muscles! His knees, abdomen and joints are very worn out, and he’s in very poor condition overall (like he’s 30 or something). He looks like he’s fasting! Pail, week, out of power!

His peak is behind him. Did you see his body when he took off his shirt? This is not the same person anymore!

No comparison between Fed and him. Fed was back only because he didn’t have to play him at RG and then Rafa was injured, skipped Wimby, lost couple of thousands of points (even points from the Olympics) and that’s why Fed regained his number 1 again. This is unique case! As far as Fed is concerned, he’s passed his peak too, and once he’s dethroned, no coming back for him either. Next year even, probably.

All in all, Nadal is not the force anymore! Nole, JMDP or Murray will eat him alive! Live with that. No clay season will save him. Rafael Nadal, number 1 in the world – never again!

So long, grumpy. I am referring to sensational in case somebody thought – to Rafa.


huh Says:

“rose Says:
i guess paris still doesnt like nadal.. crow booing for him to serve quick ..”

Though this is hard to believe, if it is true, then F###ing PARIS AND F***ing PARISIANS!


Skorocel Says:

Can someone tell me how exactly Nadal saved those 5 MPs? This is unbelievable!


Voicemale1 Says:

SS:

You always miss the central point by getting caught up in the meaningless minutiae. It makes no difference what the 3rd Set score is if you win, or lose for that matter. It’s the saving of the match points that IS the point about being courageous.


huh Says:

“Nadal’s tenacity got to Aldumbass and he gave up.”

Aldumbass???!!! LOL & LOL!


huh Says:

Hi madmax, nice to see you again! :D
However only one thing that I wanna tell you is that Rafa was indeed playing horribly, but Almagro probably played the match of his life.


jane Says:

I agree that a case could be made that Rafa is the most courageous tennis player. Connors comes to mind as another fighter, another who was quite tenacious, but as I didn’t watch him nearly as much as I have Rafa, and was quite young back then, I can’t say with any certainty if Connors measures up to Rafa. Maybe others know.

madmax, Feel the same way about Safin. ;’ /
He will be missed, but on the other hand, I hope he does NOT reconsider and that this goodbye is goodbye. Like he said, one door closes, and another opens. What’s behind door number 2? That is the question!


Skorocel Says:

i am it: Thanks! So as I can see, 2 of them were saved by Nadal hitting winners, and the remaining 3 by Almagro making an error (of which at least 1 was more or less forced by Nadal’s brilliant defense), isn’t it? Well, what can I say? That guy is a MONSTER when it comes to mental toughness!


jane Says:

Safin’s “last Tango in Paris”: overpowered by the young gun but still wonderful after all these years.

http://www.tennistv.com/tennistv/safins-last-tango-in-paris-20091111_2252195_1873067


huh Says:

Safin is gone and tennis has lost one of its greatest talents ever and I’ve also lost one of my biggest faves considering the fact that I prefer talent over everything else.

SAFIN: my respects to you, but it’s not needed. You already have it. GOD BLESS YOU!


huh Says:

“All in all, Nadal is not the force anymore! Nole, JMDP or Murray will eat him alive! Live with that. No clay season will save him. Rafael Nadal, number 1 in the world – never again!”

Duro: I disagree with you here and believe that Rafa’ll again be back by next year’s clay season or even before that. We can’t write him off, I certainly won’t! However I agree with you that Rafa’s looking weak, this may not be much helpful to him in the future. But he’s still a force to be reckoned with at slams nonetheless.


beem there Says:

madmax says:

“Amalgro will be reliving this game over and over, kicking himself – This is tennis”

Unfortunately, Almagro will not relive anything nor kick himself. :) He’s off to have a couple of beers after his presser to celebrate his end of season & prepare for Christmas before resuming tennis in Jan somewhere in Australia. lol.

Almagro walked into the court believing he would not win, and more importantly, imo, he did not want to win ‘coz he’s playing his great country-man Rafa. Serving for the match in 3rd set was especially suspect. He got the cramp (or whatever it was) at 3-4, 40-30. He gets the massage, then gets the game. 4-4. More massage. He plays a whole game well, running, etc, & in the process breaks Rafa to go up 5-4. Then when now it’s his turn to serve for the match, the cramps SUDDENLY return…I see him stretching, & consequently gives the break back with a mediocre 15-40. If the cramps were so bad, especially since he’s serving for the match for tennis racquet’s sake, he had the option for stopping to get more massage. The commentators said that the rules at the moment (to be reviewed from Jan) allow a player to stop & get a massage within own service game, like he did before. Yet he did not use this right when serving for the match. hello??!! For this reason alone (+ many others), I firmly believe he did not want to win.

Believe me, I was even surprised that he managed to take the 1st set….yet…when he had the win at the side of his pocket, he folded sooo dramatically. TWICE in both sets 2 & 3.

I await to read his presser. But I can already foresee how it will go… “oh, you know, Rafa is Rafa…he fights for every point….I tried my best…blablabla”. Basically, he’ll say all positive things about Rafa’s game, which we the fans will gush over with ‘oh, wow, he’s such a gracious loser.’….when in reality, he’s just being a loser. A straight out loser is a much worse sportsman than a sore loser….at least a sore loser fights hard for each point when losing, then throws tantrums after losing ‘coz he’s disappointed in himself & believes he could have won, however misguided his belief. lol. All top players, including Fed & Rafa, have been sore losers from time to time, but thankfully never losers!

Anyway, if what I’ve said about Almagro not wanting to win against Rafa is false, I suppose he should then borrow a leaf from Simon who literally played on one leg in hald of the 3rd set against Ljubicic on Monday & won…yet coming to the match, Ljubicic had the advantage of H2H 3-0!

Until others really pull up their socks, the likes of Nadal & Fed should just continue winning majority of tournaments whether they play well or mediocre. At least I see them fully committing even when is losing 6-0, 6-1 or 6-2 in final sets.

Enough Almagro venting from me. :)


madmax Says:

Hi duro! How are you feeling today? still glorifying in Novak’s win? (big hug to you my friend).

Huh, i love to see you too!

SS, i posted you on another thread – quite long – so not ignoring you.

Regarding the rafa and almagro match – this is the FIRST time Al took a set off rafa EVER in his life. He had missed opportunities and he will relive this horrible match, over and over. But it will pass and he will learn from it, (if he wants to improve). Rafa – well, i dont know what is up with his game right now – the rafa fans will know more than me, but I have to agree with duro in part, rafa is skinny, he seems to have lost his muscle, and with that, part of his game – but rafa has heart – it is his heart and his passion which got him through the match today – i dont believe in luck – i think that rafa was able to dig deep and draw on the experience he has had in tight matches (which seem to be more these days). He has not won a tournament for 6 months now – which is very unlike rafa – but we know that he made the right decision to take time out in order to recover from his injuries, else otherwise, he would completely ruin and end his career – and that would have been awful for the game of tennis. I admire and respect rafa, he is a fighter, but at the moment, i still feel he has lost something, his spark? his aura? part of who he was, because he is being more cautious on court? It is a fear I think that roger had at one time, when he suffered from, and came back from mono – it was hard for him at first, especially when people were writing him off. I would never write off rafa. He is in the game of tennis to win, i just dont feel he is at the place where he hoped to be at this stage of the year. But good luck to him and hoping that he recovers fully to resume the federer/nadal rivalries –

Skorocel – mental toughness – i agree with your comment here – this is where the true greats come through, due to sheer will, sheer might, sheer passion!

Duro, i would say one thing to you – yes – federer did benefit from rafa being injured in terms of wimby – but i would say that he still had to fight to get the roland garros title this year – it was not a cupcake draw for him – and remember rafa was knocked out in fourth round of RG, to soderling, fed still had to beat the others to get to the final, this is something that i think some fans forget – remember that roger still had to fight for his place – and he earnt it. Remember also, that irrespective of rafa – who is the king of clay – roger reached the final CONSECUTIVELY FOR THE LAST FOUR YEARS at RG, it is not as if he was knocked out in the early rounds of a grand slam, that hasn’t happened since 2003 – that is how great federer is.


been there Says:

Sorry I misspelled my name when logging on @2:20pm. It’s ‘been there’….talk of Almagro frustration. lol. I hope not to set my eyes on him again for at least a year. ok, enough now. hehe.


madmax Says:

Federer is playing later tonight – Go federer! I love tennis, but sometimes, feel sick when my favourite guy plays – nerves – duro, you understand? Its having to put yourself through the highs and lows, I have already lost my appetite!


i am it Says:

j., thanks for the clip.
perfect place to bid goodbye his career, where he accomplished most, and playing his last match to a player who’s the biggest star of the year and possibly future of tennis. before the match, Safin said, “If you lose against him, it’s not really painful” (verbatim). Elsewhere he said, “I want to end playing a competitive match.” And he did. His interview clip:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YYhV1EJxN4&feature=related
Safin also lavished praised on DelPo and said this of him, “Next year, I think, if he does not get injured, he will be in a different league, and will be fighting for No. 1 next year.”

my tribute to Safin (bear with the sound quality):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wPhsrKLrgs&feature=PlayList&p=F52D267BD4E66360&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=31

and some pictures
youtube.com/watch?v=o8vdzXNv1p0


jane Says:

Thanks i am it. Yes, I am happy that Safin didn’t go out to just anyone and that he also went out swinging. Thanks for all the links. : )

I am watching Monfils a.t.m. and trying to mark. Monfils is great. Actually this qualifier fella isn’t playing too shabbily either! But Gael is always fun to watch when he’s putting in a good effort. He’s such an athlete.


madmax Says:

Julian benneteau is a good player. Ranked 49 in the world, fed has a 2:0 h2h, though i always feel with fed, he is vul.nerable in the early round. He needs to be on his toes, and if i remember, he played benneteau earlier this year, and benneteau gave fed a good run for his money – so federer – be aware! be cool, be fierce and get it done early! in straight sets!

I am it! thanks for links on safin, will look at them later – its so sad – i dont want him to say goodbye – huge moment for him – i wonder if he has actually thought how this will change his life – it seems that he hates tennis? saying he will not miss 24/7 ‘stress’. This has been his bread and butter work for all of his life – it is going to be really weird for him. and for the fans!


madmax Says:

Been there – Posted November 11th, 2009 at 2:20 pm, i understand what you are saying in your post here. Do you really think that Al wanted to ‘gift’ it to rafa? He had the game in the palm of his hand – why would he give it away? I will be interested to read his presser, but you have given me things to ponder.


jane Says:

This French crowd is unbelievable. Now they’re booing Monfils. WTF?


Duro Says:

huh, that’s the way to disagree. Thanks for your opinion and comment. I appreciate only that kind of communication. Cheers.

Maxi, I’m not glorifying in Novak’s win at all. I didn’t like his performance today. He didn’t look fresh. Tired or not, it doesn’t looks good.
I don’t want to spend words on Fed’s greatness. There will be no such greatness ever again, most likely. But, you and other fans of him must prepare for the inevitable. Accept it as something natural. Nothing can diminish his greatness even if he wouldn’t win anything from now on and he will, for sure. No doubt about it. Still, I think, as this unfortunate person on the picture below, that his and Rafa’s time’s slowly going away and the “Mighty three” are coming!
Maybe, it’s for the best. For tennis definitely, their supporters too, not exactly for Fed and Rafa’s fans, but that’s life. I’m aging too and I don’t see anybody complaining about it, but myself.


i am it Says:

i am watching Cilic match. he does not look safe. Kubot is playing a little better. i would hate to see Cilic losing. i hope Cilic does not disappoint and gives us a quarterfinal with Fed.


Duro Says:

2 corrrections, it doesn’t look good, not looks, of course, and “as same as this unfortunate person at the picture below…”

Jane, we didn’t have time to interact lately. I miss our communication. Somebody will probably inform you about the “news”. I can’t tell you more. for now.


Duro Says:

Hey, i am it! Long time no see, a? You’re a first class poster!


madmax Says:

duro! i wasnt referring to novak playing today my friend, i was referring to the basel match! that was all! hopefully you forgive any misunderstanding? I mean you no harm at all – i love hearing from you, your posts are always insightful and interesting! I hadnt realised until later that novak had actually played – hope that explains things!

Now to the federer match! c’moon the federer! go:roger:go! He so has to make sure his serve is “on”, and pulls out the shots – i hate these early rounds, it gives me the jitters!

Be aggressive federer!


jane Says:

Duro,

Yes, we’re like two ships (aging ones, lol) passing in the night! I agree with you about Novak’s match today, and he agrees too. I posted earlier that he said himself the didn’t “feel great” on the court today. I would hope that he can get past Clement nevertheless, and then if he goes out in the quarters, he can save energy for London. Now you have me very cuiours about the “news.” But I will wait.


jane Says:

madmax, you have nothing to worry about; Federer will get past Julienne Benneteau! I thought Murray was coming up after Monfils, but I guess I have to wait longer to watch his match against Blake.


Duro Says:

Oh, that’s something else. I am glorifying, but everything is going so fast! No time for it. If Nole doesn’t get serious he”ll be out in a blink of an eye! He was so dragging his body all over the court today! He better rest properly! But, how with Jelena in the bed next to him? :-)!


Duro Says:

Glorifying post was for Maxi.

Jane, this was poetry (“Yes, we’re like two ships (aging ones, lol) passing in the night!)! I liked it very much!

Last week was perfect, right? Novak won, Murray won, Nestorovic won, ha ha ha! All of your three guys!


i am it Says:

Hey Duro, finally it appears that Cilic is gonna win. He’s a break up in the 3rd set and, with a hold, will be leading 3-1. Fed is flying, 5-2 in the 1st set.
so far, so good. maybe except one, you know which:)


Duro Says:

i am it, of course I do! You gave me a very easy assignment today. Try me some more some times!


been there Says:

madmax@ 2:50pm,

Maybe some people will find the word “gift” a match too controversial…but, yes, something along those lines. This is something I’ve noticed with most Spanish players while playing Rafa….obviously, Rafa is as great a competitor as they come (6 GS, 15 masters, mental toughness etc, etc), but after today’s Almagro’s performance, it got me thinking of a few gossips (hehe) I’ve read over the years concerning this issue…then I thought, maybe there’s a grain of truth to this. I’m looking at just a few Spanish players H2H with Rafa, e.g. 9-0 Verdasco, 5-0 Robredo, 5-1 Lopez..at least…& after today 5-0 Almagro.

I don’t even fault the fact that he lost it…it’s just the manner of the loss…and the pattern is repeated over & over with the other Spanish players as well…either not try at all or throw away a very commanding lead. I wouldn’t even mind if say Rafa met with say ‘Dasco, Almagro, etc 20 times, and had a pefect 20-0 H2H against each of them…just so long as I can actually see that they are committed to at least competing, if not winning, instead of the lax attitude of ‘well, he’s my country-man, so I don’t mind losing to him…& he’s one of the best, so it’s ok’. This attitude is well & good AFTER losing a match, not during the match in between rallies.

Maybe a good comparison is Fed vs Wawrinka…Wawa, as good a friend as he is to Fed, gives Fed as good as he gets, win or lose, & should he get an opportunity to bag the match, he goes for it…to hell with “It’s Roger.” Much further away from the Swiss Alps, look at Roddick still trying so hard against Fed even with such a poor lopsided record…even if he’s losing, & walks into the match with everyone knowing he’s a massive underdog (him, Fed, the umpires, ball boys, hawk-eye, hell, even the net goes against him! lol) at no time do I ever feel that he’s throwing the match, even if Fed is coming back from a Set & two breaks down or whatever. And very occasionally, he does manage to squeak in a win.

So it’s not the actual loss that bothers me, it’s the manner of these loses. It’s almost like there’s a certain Spanish code saying “I’m not supposed to win against Rafa”. And looking further, Spain has as strong a team of players as a country country wish for (wink wink, UK), with 9 players ranked within the top50 as of Nov 2 ’09, so you just got to wonder & ask the question….what’s happening?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Top_Spanish_male_tennis_players

Who knows..maybe it’s a patriotism thing…let the overall better player go ahead…or maybe it’s a simple as a massive mental block inflicting the spanish players when they come against Rafa.

So I’m by no means saying they should beat Rafa left, right & centre…’coz this is impossible ‘coz Rafa is only 2nd to Fed in terms of being a tennis machine & such loses wouldn’t be good ‘coz it would mean Rafa is deteriorating…but yeah, I just want genuine competition…not straight out giving away matches. Rafa should by all means lead all these H2H…but the others (Almagro!) should manage to squeak in a win here & there.


jane Says:

Duro, Yep, last week was lovely. And that “two ships” thing is a poem in English I believe, or at least it’s an idiom.

Fed is “flying” i am it, though he is still making more errors than he did in the past. But he’s also making some of his characteristic great shots, which is enough to allow him to breeze past Benneteau.


sar Says:

Jane, do you have an interview link? I don’t know how to find interviews on the Bercy site.
Come on Nestor….tomorrow.


Duro Says:

Jane, interesting thing, all of the three guys that won in Basel are from Belgrade! It was Belgrade invasion of Basel! Djokovic, Zimonjic and Daniel Nestor (Danijel Nestorovic, born in Belgrade, too).


Duro Says:

Hey, Sar! Go immediately on TT to see something! In the lower left corner of the site, there’s a window with interviews and other stuff. I barely found it myself.


Duro Says:

Lower left corner of the Paris site! Sorry!


jane Says:

been there, are you suggesting the Spanish players all throw their matches against Nadal? If so, I find that to be a very controversial claim.

Also I don’t think you can compare Fed/Wawa to all the others, for one because Wawa is virtually the ONLY other Swiss player of note and two because Fed is 3-1 over Stan and had they met more I am sure Fed’s lead would be more, BECAUSE HE’S THE BETTER PLAYER.

In my view, Rafa is also better than the Spanish players you name: Almagro, Robredo, F-Lo and Verdasco. Note that Verdasco’s H2H might be the most surprising, given his talent, but 4 of the 9 losses came on clay, and at least a couple of the other losses, on hard and grass, were won by a hair. Verdasco is not known for his mental toughness, so I can see how he’d lose in those tight situations.

Now, let’s look at Fed’s H2H with those players:
Almagro: 5-0
F-Lo: 7-0
Robredo: 9-0
Verdasco: 3-0
Nadal: 7-13

SO – Might it be just that Nadal is better than his Spanish compatriots?

I don’t see the conspiracy.

Nadal vs. Moya = 6-2
Nadal vs. Ferrer = 8-3
Nadal vs. Ferrero = 6-2

These three other Spaniards are better than the rest, except maybe Verdasco, but Hotsauce has only really come into his own this year.

Anyhow, that’s my take.


sar Says:

I will have a look.


jane Says:

sar,

Here’s an excerpt from an article in which Djoko is quoted:

Djokovic advances

Earlier, world number three Novak Djokovic also advanced to the third round with a routine 6-3 7-5 win over Juan Monaco.

The Serb, who defeated Roger Federer in the Swiss Indoors final on Sunday to win his fourth title of the year, dominated in the opening set but was made to work hard when his unseeded Argentine opponent fought back in the second.

The third seed salvaged a set point with a volley to come back from 5-2 down in that second set and recovered to complete the victory when Monaco netted a forehand on the first match point after an hour and 32 minutes.

“I didn’t feel that great on the court,” said Djokovic.

“It was probably a long week in Basel that affected that. But I got a victory and that’s what matters most.

“Generally speaking I’ve picked up great form in the last two months.”

The next test for Djokovic will be a clash against Frenchman Arnaud Clement after he dispatched Germany’s Tommy Haas in three sets.

Meanwhile, ninth seed Robin Soderling of Sweden kept alive his slender hopes of making the ATP World Tour Finals in London with a 6-4 7-6 win over Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic.

——————————————-

And here’s the link to the article:

http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,12110_5688490,00.html

In the top corner, there’s a link to a video interview with Novak as well.

Cheers! And yes – Go Nesty & Zims~!


sar Says:

Got it thanks.

Link to Stepanek/Troicki
http://www.fromsport.com/video-112189.html


i am it Says:

suddenly, Fed’s started struggling, as his opponent showed some nerve and good tennis. we are heading into the 3rd set. not good sign for Fed.


jane Says:

Oops – I guess Benneteau had more in him than I thought he did; he played a very nice second set and swiped one from Fed. Still, I can’t see him winning the match, or I’d certainly be very surprised if he did. Fed should come out of the gates and roar into the third set.


huh Says:

Great post by Mrs. Jane at 4.08 pm. I’m not unimpressed.


Kimmi Says:

Fed BH will cost him this match


huh Says:

Expecting the unexpected and it’s not a good sign particularly after Fed’s broken. OH COME ON FED!!!


been there Says:

jane says:

>>”been there, are you suggesting the Spanish players all throw their matches against Nadal? If so, I find that to be a very controversial claim.”

Exactly where have I said that ALL spanish players throw away their matches? My post clearly says ‘most’. Please, don’t put words into my mouth. And also, as I’ve said, it could be true or could be a simple mental block…please read again! And again, I’ve said I’ve read it elsewhere over the years as tennis gossip, so it’s not only me whose noticed this…simply google it yourself…even in live tennis forums when the match was on-going today. It’s not an official statement you are ever going to find on the official ATP website.

I’ve in fact shown that a few, e.g. Lopez, do manage to have the occasional wins…I can’t be bothered to list all of Nadal’s win-loss records against all spanish players ‘coz there are at least 8 in top30, 9 in top50. But they’re all listed on the ATP site as you’ve noted.

“Also I don’t think you can compare Fed/Wawa to all the others, for one because Wawa is virtually the ONLY other Swiss player of note”

It is precisely for that reason that I have picked Wawa..lol…am I to make up an imaginary swiss player?? And to further show my point ‘coz I know that wawa & fed have met such few times & is the only other top swiss player, I’ve referred to Roddick trying so hard despite his lopsided H2H against Fed. My main point being that, I want to see competition. I could have picked players from any other country…Roddick vs Isner.

>>”Now, let’s look at Fed’s H2H with those players”
Lol. there’s no need to compare Fed vs other spanish players ‘coz I was simply noting the MANNER in which they lose against Rafa…not the loses themselves. Once again, please read again. This was a Rafa vs Spanish players thing….not Rafa vs Fed thing, & it was a manner of loss thing, not the loses themselves…otherwise why don’t we list all win-loss records of both Rafa & Fed against all players in the top100?

>>”In my view, Rafa is also better than the Spanish players you name:”
“Might it be just that Nadal is better than his Spanish compatriots?”

Jane, did you really read my whole post..or have emotions gotten the better of you here & interpreted it all negatively ‘coz you love Rafa? I have said exactly the same thing as you! i.e. Rafa is by no means a better player, 2nd only to Fed & it is expected for hm to have the overall lead. lol I’ve even further said that I don’t mind him leading 20-0 against even all spanish players…but I just want to see competition & a willingness to win by other players. Once again, it’s the manner of losses that I contest..not the losses themselves.

I feel that I’m repeating everything I said at3:53pm. Please re-read my post again! :)


jane Says:

What’s up with Fed suddenly? He began strongly.I mean, credit to Benneteau who is playing well, but Fed’s making bad errors here.


i am it Says:

i am shell-shocked and sad to see Fed struggling. he just got broken in the 3rd. hope he breaks back and wins the match.


huh Says:

If Fed loses today, it’d be a HUGE setback, one about which Fed needs to worry.


Kimmi Says:

Is not going to turn out like Djokovic match, is it ?…hope not..C’mooon


huh Says:

Fed seems inspired by Marat and Rafa today.


been there Says:

whoopsie doopsie…Fed seems to be going out at a break down….an early upset brewing? Tough times for Fed. Good work from Julien.


i am it Says:

if Fed gets broken here again to go down double, this match is over. it’s really heart-scalding to see him play like this.


jane Says:

been there,

Please note that I *asked* you for clarification in my post: “re you suggesting the Spanish players all throw their matches against Nadal?”

I didn’t put words into your mouth. Nor do I love Rafa; I like him but I am just trying to understand what you are implying.

I couldn’t tell if you are saying that these players lose on purpose (i.e., tank) or if you were saying they lose to Rafa because they feel they shouldn’t beat their countryman, or what.

But the reason I bring in Fed is precisely because one *could* imo argue the same thing about their losses to him — i.e., that it’s a “mental block” or that “they lose themselves” when they play Fed. I have certainly seen that in Fed/Robredo and Fed/Verdasco matches anyhow.

And yep, I read your post; and no, I am not emotional.

I just see it differently is all. :)


i am it Says:

Fed held but he is still down a break. he has to find a way to break back. Come on Fed, play aggressive and hit some winners !


jane Says:

Or maybe we see it the same been there, and it was just a wording thing. Anyhow, I take your point that sometimes his compatriots lose badly to him, but also that Rafa is the better player – and definitely the better fighter – and so in the end he comes out the winner the majority of the time. I don’t think country comes into it, except perhaps that in a very tight situation they might think “I don’t want to beat my countryman” – but if that were truly the case then we’d have to wonder about friends when they play each other, etc. etc. I do think Nadal’s compatriots compete against him; surely Nico did today, but he blew it. Lots of players who aren’t Spanish blow it against Rafa cause he’s so tenacious.

—–

Wow Fed staved off a double break there.


i am it Says:

that BH passing shot from Fed was spectacular. and he faced double break point, again. he served well there to hold. i am not sure how long he can last.
it’s been painful to watch, esp. since the mid way through the 2nd set.
in general, Fed is finding difficult to get a handle on JB’s serve, on top of playing badly.


i am it Says:

that loud Come on should bring out some energy and determination. 0-30 (50% chance) quickly erased as Fed waited too long to pull trigger and GB took advantage and hit a massive down the line. and he held.
a glimmer of hope vanished in jiffy.
let’s go, Fed !


Kimmi Says:

right here right now Federer…pls don’t go this early


i am it Says:

Fed has one last chance to break. i am praying he brings out his best to deal with the challenge.
Go Fed !


sensationalsafin Says:

Why…


Kimmi Says:

beneteu is crying..feel happy for him but fed..


i am it Says:

Kimmi, fed is not returning the serve and is waiting too long to hit winner. whenever he tried to hit winner, he was reluctant, thus half power.
that is how he lost the match. i am heart-broken.

congrats to the winner. JB played some gutsy high quality tennis.


sensationalsafin Says:

Wtf…


jane Says:

Wow – I did NOT see this coming. I mean Benneteau has pushed both Murray (Cincy) and Djoko (Wimby) this year, but he didn’t win. It’s a nice win at home, but a sad loss for Fed.

Julienne is acting like he won the tournament, lol! It shows what a win against Fed means to him. Wow.

Sorry to i am it, madmax, huh, Kimmi, contrador, ss, all Fed fans. But he’ll be back, in the YEC. And Benneteau did play very well from the second set onward. I am still shocked, though.


Kimmi Says:

Nadal to become number 1


Duro Says:

Oh boy… The winds of change are coming… I told you, people. Count Nadal out, too.


been there Says:

Jane@ 4:53,

I was very clear in my post that I was referring specifically to Rafa vs other Spanish players….and again, I didn’t say ALL…that’s why I said ‘do not put words into my mounth’.

You still don’t seem to be understanding (or refuse to understand?) my point. The point being…it is not the loses that I contest to. It is the MANNER. Hence why I said, if say Almagro was to play Rafa 20 times, & Rafa led 20-0 H2H, this would be all well & good if when I’m watching, I see that Almagro is at least trying to win. And this is an opinion that can only be arrived at only by watching a match,…it’s not something that can gained by simply looking at H2H…because as I’ve said and repeat for the umpteenth time, it is the MANNER of the loses, not the loses themselves. lol.

So maybe you read my post, but you perhaps rushed over it, ‘coz I was very clear that Rafa is by far the better player, only 2nd to Fed (& I’ve repeated this over & over.), and by all means is naturally expected to have the majority of the wins….just as you repeated, yet I already said this in my original post to which you answer…hence I questioned if you at all read by post properly.

You have interpreted my post as you wish. I can’t make myself any clearer on the point I was making, i.e. manner of loses…not the loses themselves. :)


sensationalsafin Says:

I’m counting tennis out. I hate this sport.


been there Says:

What an upset! Who saw that coming? Terribly sad for Fed. Yikes…No1 on the line…all to be decided in London.

Julien…show all ‘em under-dogs how it’s done!! Almagro should borrow notes from Banneautue on how not to choke. lol


Kimmi Says:

When was the last time Fed lost in the 1st round ? He is just rusty..serve was poor in third set, too passive and Benet took advantage. Crap crap crap…


jane Says:

been there,

Thanks for clarifying been there. But the manner of the losses is perhaps a matter of perspective, yes? For e.g., the manner in which Verdasco lost to Rafa at AO was pretty spectacular, imo. He fought hard to win but double faulted, as he does against other top players, when he got nervous. Today, I thought the manner in which Almagro lost was fine too, overall; he was trying hard until he got the cramps near the end of the third set. If one thinks he was faking the cramps, I guess that’s another issue. But choking is something that happens to all sundry of players, especially when they are on the brink of a big win. So his losing serve when serving for the second set does not surprise me at all. Look how Djoko got past Steps last week, for instance.

Anyhow, we’re good, I hope.

Benneteau, on the other hand, had nerves of steel at the end today. Wow. Congrats to him, a big big win.


Duro Says:

Maxi, I’m sorry dear. Bitter taste of tennis today…


sar Says:

Just got back and see the results….poor Troicki and Fed. I taped it so I will watch the match.


been there Says:

I’m hearing shouts of joy in the Bercy locker-room from Monfils, Cilic & Verdasco ‘coz one of them is assured of a semi. lol [ massively sad for Fed though]. & an assured french-man in the quaters. Glorious.


Duro Says:

Sar, seen it?


i am it Says:

there are lots of things to talk about after Fed’s 1st Rd. loss to a mediocre player.
1) something to console: Paris has never been Fed’s tournament; he will get more practice time for YEC and feel the urgency and get more motivated to do well there;
2) Bad: a 1st Rd loss is not gonna look good in his resume; more lesser players from 1st Rd. on start believing that they can take out Fed.
3) Rafa’s chance to regain year-end No.1 has increased slightly, if not by a great margin. if he does, then this is tragic and troublesome to fed fans.

4) Today’s results and performances make Quarterfinal lineups unpredictable, not just in one quarter:

JB/ Monfils vs. Cilic/ Verdasco

Murray/Step vs. DelPo/Gonzu

Djoko/Clement vs. Davydenko/ Soderling

Rafa/ Robredo vs. Tsonga/ Simon


sar Says:

Anyone think Fed’s hasty exit has anything to do with the Basel loss?


jane Says:

Maybe Soderling will win Paris? Or Delpo? Or maybe Murray? Not sure that I see Djko or Rafa winning this week, for some reason (largely based on their first round performances). Maybe though. I guess it’s quite open really, which is good for fans.

3 All Murray vs. Blake


topspin Says:

it has to do with the lack of match play!

Fed hasn’t really played great since his loss at the US Open, had cake matches, amid other things, obv you can see it in his gameplay, he’s not as sharp as before.

I’d love to see him on a downward spiral from here on out, but he’ll probably do good again next year, for london it’s too late for him, it’ll be a so so performance.


jane Says:

Can’t players see that Murray likes power? LOL, Blake is playing right into Murray’s hands. He just gives it right back until Blake makes errors. Murray’s faster around the court than some might think. He has amazing defensive skills, so much so, that like with Rafa the defense almost morphs imperceptibly into offense.


i am it Says:

Murray is playing fantastic and (6-3 1st set) and he is increasingly looking like he is one of the title contenders.
is it going to be Murray-Tsonga final or what?


jane Says:

Maybe i am it – or Soderling perhaps? Or probably, Davydenko! I’d love to see a Murray vs. Djoko final; would that be too greedy? :)


Duro Says:

Nole-Murray. But hardly.


sar Says:

If Djok can’t do it I would like Delpo.


Duro Says:

sar, you didn’t answer me…


sar Says:

Sorry, about what?


marius Says:

Federer is almost done,players now know his weaknesses and he is slower than before but his mental state is now ever decreasing,he has no fight or guts to stand up to players that take it to him.

People say he is going to be different at the majors but watch the match against del potro and you can see similarities with the australian open defeat to rafa where he completely gives up in the 5th why because his opponent is not making it easy for him.

Roger backhand has always been a weakness but he could be a weapon but now days it is just a trading shot and nothing else,it is awfully slow and without any conviction behind it,people now know all they have to do is attack that wing and wait for a short reply or wait for a shank from the so called best player ever who when the going gets tougher he gets weaker and misses everything in sight.

If nadal could become a bit more aggressive and better he could actually win more slams than roger but he is going to need to get lucky with his injuries,to me he is the real number one not only in his play but in his never say die attitude.


i am it Says:

no, j., nooooooo. i don’t want to have a fight with you. don’t want to be beaten by you and cry. no joy there.


i am it Says:

sar Says: “If Djok can’t do it I would like Delpo.”
I love you !


sar Says:

Oh Duro, yes I did see the interview. Thanks for telling me where it was.


jane Says:

i am it – sorry why would we fight? Am I missing something?


i am it Says:

yes, j., you are missing something. Tell you later.
LATER.


sar Says:

I am it. LOL
I just like Delp’s personality. Very nice and unassuming.

I noticed the match between Pico and Nole, the crowd was pro-Novak.
Also looking at the Murray- Blake match and it seems no one cares.
I wonder about the French crowd.


Kimmi Says:

sar..it is past midnight in paris..not so many people will stay up late on wednesday night.


Kimmi Says:

Actally thurdays morning..unless no work to go to next day


contador Says:

http://www.fft.fr/bnpparibasmasters/2009_en/?ID=5619

a link for anyone interested in hearing what federer had to say after the loss to benneteau.

wow…maybe it’s my audio, but he sounds tired and congested, nasally congested, might i add.


Wade Says:

Marius I’m with you there Federer these days just doesn’t want to seem to fight in the dying stages and only wins if the opponent also starts giving upp.

NADAL YEAR END NUMBER 1!!!!!!!

He deserves it come on RAFA


jane Says:

Did you guys see Djoko walk onto court wearing a mask? Ha ha – he did it last year here too, I think. Maybe he’ll make it a new Nole tradition?


sar Says:

..it is past midnight in paris

Oh, that could be it Kimmi.

Yes, the mask thing is strange Jane.

Off track a bit. How much did Djok get for the Head racquet contract? Anyone know details?


Daniel Says:

What is ironic about this loss is that if Nadal, who saved 5 match points, had lost in the first round Fed Year End as N. 1 would be a math certainty, he wouldn’t even need to win against Benneteau.

Now he lost in first round and everything is in the air, depending on how far Rafa goes.

A long time since we don’t have a Masters Cup worthing N. 1 Ranking.

There is a possibility that they can play a semifinal match in London where who ever wins will be n° 1. That would be something!


Kimmi Says:

Another three setter…c’mon Murray. Blake playing well here, attacking the net big time. Thats how to play Murray.


i am it Says:

that was really a bad fall. i feel sorry for Murray. hope nothing serious.


jane Says:

I guess Blake is hanging in so far; I would think Murray will come out of this correct? It is so quiet there Kimmi – crazy. I wish I could be there watching. The camera is trying to catch the few people who’ve hung around!


Kimmi Says:

I can’t trust these close three seters anymore, thought fed would come back..he did not. Can Murray do it…


Duro Says:

sar, I was talking about TT! I left you a comment there! Good night.

Jane, you know what I wish :-)! No hard feelings, ok? My love is only for the one! Cheers.


jane Says:

Duro, no hard feelings of course!! You know Novak is my top fave and Murray a very close second. And this time, if Novak can make it to the final and he does face Murray, I’ll cheer for Djoko, as it could mean that he would be closer to overtaking the number 2 spot, which he has come so close to in the past, and which he’s missed by, like, ten points! Meanwhile, Murray has spent some time at number 2 this year already. So it’s Nole’s turn! Either way, I’d love to see them both in the final.

But I understand Duro – what’s good for the goose is not always good for the gander. : )


Daniel Says:

Brilliant shot by Murray to set Match point.


Kimmi Says:

YaaaaY..close match..happy for Murray.


i am it Says:

Murray prevails at the end. Congrats to Margo, Kimmi, and j.


jane Says:

Murray squeaked through; Rafa squeaked through. Fed didn’t. Djoko rallied to win in 2 sets. JMDP rallied to end Safin’s tennis days. Interesting matches today.


Kimmi Says:

Thanks I am it, i needed that one. How can he recover come back to play inform stepanek at 5pm…I wonder. jane, i agree very interesting matches today. What is in paris courts to cause top players struggling like this in 1st round ?


Skorocel Says:

marius: I hate to say it, but you’re pretty much right… Federer, when it comes to playing tennis, is second to none, but when it comes to fight, he’s suddenly vulnerable… Fact is, throughout his entire career (or at least since he became the world’s best player), there have been only few matches which he won through sheer will…

Look, for example, how many matches he’s won after saving a MP. As far as I recall, there have been only two in the recent time (Ferrero in Dubai 2005 and Rochus in Halle 2006). Nadal, on the other hand, has won 3 such matches in this year alone (vs Nalby in IW, Djoker in Madrid, and now vs Almagro)… And Roger had many opportunities – whether it was that Wimby 2008 final (I know, he managed a tremendous comeback there, trailing 2 sets to love, but still, a loss is a loss), the Rome 2006 final, the AO 2005 semi vs Safin, or that last year’s YEC RR match vs Murray (where he saved some 7 MPs, but still LOST)… And his record in 5-set matches is not great either (something like a draw, if I recall it correctly). Yes, he’s had some hard-fought wins as well (for example this year at FO, where he beat Haas from 2 sets to love down and then later won an epic semi against JMDP, or that match against Tipsy at AO 2008), but more often than not, he failed…


jane Says:

For you sensationalsafin, though I know you hate tennis, which makes you just like Safin because he hates/hated tennis too. lol

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=4645348&name=tennis


Giner Says:

I don’t believe Safin is retiring for real. He’ll probably pull a Kim. Players don’t normally retire until early 30′s and he’s only 29. But I’m particularly wary of anything Safin says because he is known to not keep his word. After losing at Wimbledon 04, he said he’d never go back but he was back the following year and every year since.


huh Says:

“Duro Says:
Oh boy… The winds of change are coming”

I AGREE. :(


Duro Says:

Natural process, huh, natural… No escape from that. When the time comes for Nole I’ll cry my soul out. I just hope Djordje will continue his brother’s legacy.


Duro Says:

For Jane, Sar, i am it and other overseas Nole’s fans, it it’s too early for you: Nole is cruising. just a light training (practice).

i am it, your hopes re Davy and Sod came through!
One clever guy you are, but what if…?


Duro Says:

It’s over. 6:2 6:2.


madmax Says:

DURO,

hi! YES. you understand how i am feeling.

TOPSPIN,

No. Fed is not ‘over’ topspin? why do you want to say such a horrible thing? I dont understand why people like you want to wish bad luck on others? Its just a spiteful, unnecessary comment.

breathe maxi, breathe…

It certainly makes the No. 1 and No.2 race more interesting. We will just have to see.

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