Roddick Rises; Djokovic, Davydenko Fall
by Sean Randall | February 14th, 2010, 9:09 am

A few surprises yesterday in the world of tennis both coming in Rotterdam really. The ND boys – Novak Djokovic and Nikolay Davydenko – were both favorites in their semifinal matches and both wound up going down in straight sets. ADHEREL

If you are a fan of either it has to be disappointing. Djokovic, now the World No. 2, got beat by Mikhail Youhzny who nearly gagged it at the end (he was served for the match I believe then was broken) before he hung on 7-6, 7-6.

Davydenko, who had not lost a best-of-three match in what seems like forever, was taken care of by Robin Soderling. Not a huge surprise there but again given the way Davydenko had been playing I would have thought the Russian would have advanced. Soderling as we know is a tough out indoors but based on recent performance Davy was the slight favorite.

The bigger picture for the NDs is are these losses just a post-Australian Open hangover? Remember how hot they were playing at the end of last year and even midway through Melbourne?

After each suffered devastating losses in Australia – Djokovic to Jo Tsonga and Davy to Roger Federer – and now this, I wonder if they can regain that magic in time for the bigger events coming up like Dubai, Indian Wells and Miami.

With Federer, Rafael Nadal and even Andy Murray not playing, these are the events guys like Djokovic and Davydenko should be winning or at least reaching the finals at. I saw some of the Novak match and true, Youhzny was on fire, but to be a real champion you need to find a way to win.

Andy Roddick did just that yesterday: he found a way to win. Sam Querrey thoroughly outplayed him in their their three-set San Jose semifinal – Roddick admitted as much – but Roddick pushed through winning in a third set breaker.

Queerey was hot, Roddick was not, but credit to Roddick for eventually getting the win over someone he should beat.

I now expect Andy to finish to job and beat Fernando Verdasco in finals later today. Verdasco’s a really improved player but in the matches against the bigger names on the big stages he more often than not falls short.

This afternoon on the Brazil clay, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Lukusz Kubot will do battle for that title

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39 Comments for Roddick Rises; Djokovic, Davydenko Fall

Kimmi Says:

Soda is the man this week in Rotterdam

Michael Says:

Djokovic done what he thought that should be done He cemented his #2 position with additional 180 points which extended the lead over #3 Murray to 690 points.

sonic Says:

further proof that DJokovic got to no2 at the time when he’s not even top 3 really. it seems he got to obssesed with improving, hiring a 100 coaches/advisors in his career already and finaly lost the plot. You don’t know if’s he coming or going the way he plays these days.

Shame to see Youzhny retiring yet again, and he was playing fairly well too. Djokovic had some bad mojo, he either injures himslef, or makes sure his opponents don’t win and remain healty :)

contador Says:

soda pop. pop! kimmi

had to miss the you-z v djoko semi. but so confident was i about the outcome, i didn’t even bother to drag the laptop to my mom’s.

the score line showed nole ‘almost won.”

so i wake up late amd find youzy retired. the win yesterday wiped him out? injured?

anyway, congrats to the unpredictable robin soderling!

i did not expect a win from him the way he performed going out early in Melbourne.

i think for ND davy; it may be a case of post AO. but in the case of soda there just is no way to guess. tough to be a soda fan when he’s so unpredictable.

at least, as a devoted gulbis fan, i have absolutely no expectations anymore for him getting past a first round. i am satisfied when he wins one set! lol

sean randall picking roddick to win? OH NO! andy has been jinxed! :-(

ferrero v kubot? I would hope JC wins.

Kimmi Says:

Contador: “at least, as a devoted gulbis fan, i have absolutely no expectations anymore for him getting past a first round. i am satisfied when he wins one set! lol”

first of all i have to stop laughing, this is funny lol

I watched the match and Youzhny was so and so but I think it was soda’s game that made him feel even worse. Soda was serving bullets (pop pop and more pop) and his groundstrokes were power and deep.

After got broken early in the second set Youzhny decides to call it quits. so he was injured but also very tired due to long matches he had in this tourney.

Its funny, I read some of his comments after Djoko match

“It feels great to beat the world number two but I am also really tired,” and “It really was close and his double-fault on set point in the first set felt like a present.”


jane Says:

Yes well Youz almost handed that present back at the end of the second set. hehehehe. Only he pulled through to retire in the finals. Too bad. : /

Both NDs were winning a lot of the events at the end of last year. Remember that Murray and Fed didn’t play the Asian swing, Murray due to injury and Fed due to exhaustion; Rafa was playing but through injury (probably should’ve taken time off then); Roddick took the time he needed to heal his knee.

So maybe Djoko and Davy are still feeling the effects of their successes last fall?

Now JMDP is injured; he too played deeper into the season, though he was retiring and losing early at events until WTF.

Murray may not be injured but he opted not to play before Dubai.

So it’s a long go for players who play right through. Djoko has not been injured but he’s probably worn out on some level. Even Davy missed the beginning half of last year so might be a little fresher, but he’s older too.

They need a bit more of an off season imo. I think we’d benefit by seeing better tennis.

contador Says:

thanks for explaining kimmi. appreciate the update here.

thought i would have more time to watch tennis and read the match reports this wk end, but again, being rushed off away from tennis today, and i will miss the spicy nando v roddick match.

not happy, not at all. feeling a grudge coming on, on valentines day too. : ((

and so i go. again, life gets in the way of tennis, kimmi. cheers.

Ben Pronin Says:

Damnit I was going to write about this. Curse me screwed up sleeping pattern!!


Soda – not far from home on his favorite surface(indoor carpet) was a good combination. In my opinion he is the biggest hitter on the tour when you factor in all strokes; 1st/2nd servie, forehand and backhand. He really cracks the ball, but he never grunts so you don’t get that wow factor like when Gonzo hits a forehand. Even the effortless Fed grunts on his serve from time to time.

Soda still has quite a few weaknesses – consistency(mental), movement, defense, and volleys. Magnus Norman has helped him improve some of these which brought him into the top 10, but he can still get better.

Von Says:

WOW, was Querrey hot last night!! And, I agree with Sean, Sam outplayed Roddick. It seems as though both Querrey and Isner save their best for when they face off against Roddick. I wonder why?

Congrats to Soderling! I had hoped it would have been a cracker of a match, but Youz just fizzled, and soderling popped the win. That’s the way the cookie crumbles at times.

Von Says:

For the players who played late into the ’09 season, it was their own self-imposed choice, and not a requirement. Therefore, if they are feeling the effects of playing too much tennis, it’s their own fault and NOT due to the scheduling. They can’t have it both ways — to clean up the titles at the end of the year, ’09, due to the other higher ranked players sitting them out, and then expect to have a great beginning to 2010. — something’s gotta give!

jane Says:

Ouch – Kubot utterly schooled by Ferrero. Congrats to JCF on another title. I see Querrey/Fish won the first set in doubles.

Also congrats to Nestor/Zims for their title in Rotterdam!

Kimmi Says:

jane: I saw bits of Kubot v JCF..what a rout!

Yeah Nestor/Zim they need to get back to their winning ways.

jane Says:

Personally, I concur with the views in this article re: the off season, just to recharge the batteries:

jane Says:

This one is even better. There must be some truth to the concern if so many players are affected, be it at the end of the season, when so many were suffering due to injury, or at the beginning of a new season with people sitting out due to injury (Murray, wrist; Tsonga, wrist; JMDP, wrist; Soderling, shoulder; Nadal, knees, etc).

jane Says:

Presuming Roddick wins today, which I think he will for sure, he will be tied with Cilic for two titles already this year. I know I am jumping ahead, but could we see either, both, of these guys winning a slam this year?! You never know. They are both piosed for “break throughs” in some ways.

Von Says:

I doubt that there isn’t a consensus of opinion among the top players with respect to the schedule. Furthermore, I’m certain that they’ll unite in an effort to get the schedule changed. And, those players that complained, did not enter and/or play in non-mandatory tournaments; they took the time for R&R. The problem seems to be with those players who wanted to gain additional points/titles, in the absence of the higher ranked players in several tournaments, and are now paying the price for their actions. To reiterate, they can’t have it both ways, and something’s gotta give = body burnout.

Furthermore, those players who were playing extensively, will also now look extremely foolish to complain about the schedule, and a few have done so, considering no one was holding a gun to their heads to force them to compete.

Roddick, Nadal, a couple of other top 10 players, and Blake, were criticized profusely for voicing their opinions on the lengthy schedule. But, they were the wise ones, in view of the crash we’re witnessing with respect to the players who played in non-mandatory tournaments, and ignored the consequences of physical/mental burn-out. in essence, much of what’s happening is their own fault, and not the ATP schedule.

I think this topic has been debated so hotly after the USO, that it is also suffering from burn-out/exhaustion.

Kimmi Says:

I am hoping for verdasco win..he got the break in the second set. Playing a little better now, lets see.

jane Says:

I think the only non-mandatory events that Djoko played post-USO were Basil – which Fed of course played too, while Murray played and won Valencia – and Bejiing (which I think a number of players played but lost early). Roddick played both Bejiing and Shanghai, but lost early in Bejiinj and retired with injury at Shanghai. Tsonga, who’s out with injury now, also played a lot near the year’s end. I can’t remember but I believe Davy played 2 non-mandatory Asian events and won the Shanghai masters.

Roddick, as that Telegraph article mentions, has often played the most matches in a year, it says he was the “top 1 or 2 in matches played”, including non-mandatory events. This could be due to commitments to USA smaller events (he often plays Memphis, San Jose, LA, Washington, etc) or to protect/defend rankings, but as he says, it catches up to a player eventually. It’s a tough call what they should or should not do. And of course they get even more matches if they tend to go deep in all of the events they enter.

I don’t know, but I wouldn’t doubt this is part of the reason that Andy has opted out of Davis Cup this year; and who can blame him? He’s done so much for the team, and he needs to make the most of the years he has left, and take care to guard against injuries.

But I feel for them anyhow. It’s true this is a topic that’s been discussed many a times, so will leave it aside for now…

Speaking of Roddick, looks like he has this title in the bag! Nando’s up a break in the second but Andy’s already been very close to getting it back, and generally he’s holding serve with ease, unlike Verdasco, whom he’s pushed in most games.

jane Says:

Kimmi, I thought Verdasco seemed to have a slightly better read on Andy’s serve in the second set, but his own serve? It’s so up and down: 11 aces, but 6 double faults over 2 sets is too many. It’s good that the final is exciting and is going to 3, but I still give A-Rod the edge, plus he’s serving first. I think he gets his second title of the season.

Kimmi Says:

i know jane, it is hard to be a verdasco fan. Double faults! yes. he hit like 20 double faults with davydenko match in the AO. Anyways, still I can hope. But I agree roddick is the stable one.

jane Says:

Kimmi, it’s surprising no one has helped him with that as it’s been a problem for a while; it was pretty noticeable even in his epic match with Rafa last year at the AO, although he played phenomenally in that match. There’s also the confidence thing with Verdasco, but the double faults you’d think might be easier to fix. Mind you, serving issues aren’t always easily solved either. Oh well.

Kimmi Says:

“Mind you, serving issues aren’t always easily solved either. Oh well.”

Agreed. i have wondered why Murray cannot learn Kick serve or add some spin on second serve..I guess its difficult.

Kimmi Says:

Verdasco breaks! C’mon relax concentrate and don’t choke!

Sean Randall Says:

Down break point Roddick comes and duffs a volley. Why he comes in sometimes still amazes me. Verdasco now serving for the match.

Kimmi Says:


Sean Randall Says:

Fernando has been known to choke…!

jane Says:

I can’t believe it; anyhow it will be very difficult for Nando to serve it out. He gets too nervous. Let’s see what happens. How many titles has he ever won?

jane Says:

Yep choke-city.

Kimmi Says:

YEES jane..never lose hope. Its is different verdasco now. 2 titles on Hardcourt. 4th title all together. Great win Hot sauce.

Sean Randall Says:

Verdasco holds to win the match! Hot Sauce for everyone.

Impressive that he was able to hold his nerves down 0-30 in that last service game.

I believe it was just his fourth title.

jane Says:

Oops have to choke on my words – he did it! Sad for Andy but also kind of happy for Verdasco as he’s usually not the one to come out on top. Kudos to hotsauce. Good serves and bad serves but at the end he did it. His first indoor title.

jane Says:

Congrats Kimmi – bet you’re happy.

Better luck next time A-Rod.

Kimmi Says:

I am happy for verdasco. His talent has been realized since last year. This win will be very important to him..he served it out after 0-30 deficit beating a top 10 player. He is a different man. I think he will do even better this year. Great win.

jane Says:

Sorry – totally off topic – but Canada just won their first GOLD medal on home soil during the Olympics; in past Olympics in Canada we’ve been denied, but not this time. : D

Kimmi Says:

I am just watching that jane..incredible! yeah O CANADA!

jane Says:

Yeah Kimmi – woot!

Nina Says:

At the end of the day it only matters whether you win or lose. If Novak had won those tiebreaks (he could have done that, specially the second) nobody would be talking crap about him now. But of course he lost them so all of a sudden he’s not nº2 material now.

madmax Says:


do you think you are being a bit harsh on novak? He is the one player who played the most matches in 2009 – 91 I think? So it doesnt surprise me that 2010 he is off to a slow start. He is no.2 material, just that he needs to reanalyse his game and start again in Dubai.

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