Roddick v. Blake Tonight in Memphis
by Sean Randall | February 17th, 2010, 1:44 pm

There’s some good in tennis world today. In particular I’m referring to the showdown tonight between Andy Roddick and James Blake in Memphis.

Roddick and Blake use to be the clear 1-2 punch in American tennis for what seems to have been the better half of the last decade. But Blake who was once ranked as high as No. 4 in the world has slid all the way down to the speed limit at 55. And at age 30 now it’s hard to see Blake getting back to the Top 10 or even the Top 20.

But Blake’s road back begins tonight. In some ways might this be his “last stand”? If he can beat Roddick, get some confidence and some momentum he could do some damage at upcoming events like Indian Wells and Miami. Problem for Blake is the same one that put him against Roddick today, that is his ranking is so low that he’ll be at the mercy of the luck of the draw. And bad draws do catch up with you.

As for the matchup, Roddick has won six of nine over James however James has won the last three (two on grass)! That said, I’ll go with Roddick in this one but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Blake get through. Andy has to be upset about losing that San Jose final and James is ranked 55 for a reason.

But if he’s on Blake’s got the game to give the “new” Roddick a ton of problems. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, in the last year or so Roddick’s really taken his foot off the gas pedal when it comes to being agressive. Instead of mashing and bludgeoning the ball around the court as he use to do he’s now become a more reserved and patient player. And that strategy backed up with still one of the best serves in all of tennis will earn him a lot of wins on more surfaces (yes, clay) against the lesser players. But I still question this approach against the bigger name players who are fearless and have the ability to go on the offensive against Andy.

Fernando Verdasco rose to that challenge on Sunday in San Jose. Let’s see if Blake can match that effort tonight.

By the way Verdasco was beaten last night at the event by Jeremy Chardy. Roddick does get the extra day to acclimate from his San Jose to Memphis trip so that should help his cause.

Elsewhere, in Dubai a few seeds have already fallen today. Shahar Peer, who wasn’t allowed to play the event last year because of visa problems, is getting her revenge and then some. The Israeli beat Yanina Wickmayer in the first round and now in the third round today she upset the top seed Caroline Wozniacki. Second-seeded Sveta Kuznetsova was also stunned by Russian qualifier Regina Kulikova and in a mild upset Jelena Jankovic’s downfall continued as she lost to Vera Zvonareva. Venus Williams is the highest remaining seed left.

In Marseille, Robin Soderling and JW Tsonga are the two top guys. Already today Marcos Baghdatis was beaten by Michael Llodra.

And in Buenos Aires the big news is the successful return of David Nalbandian. The injury-trouble Argentine collected his first ATP win since last May (I think) beating Potito Starache there yesterday. Let’s see how long David can remain healthy. Just imagine having him fit and healthy at the Slams again – wow!

Also Check Out:
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Roddick v Blake, Sharapova Top Seed: Memphis Preview
Americans Isner, Querrey, Harrison, Blake Highlight Memphis Tuesday
Roddick, Blake Head Surprise-Laden ATP Memphis Field

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42 Comments for Roddick v. Blake Tonight in Memphis

Joe Says:

James Flake is too inconsistent. Rod in 3.

sar Says:

I read JJ is making her base Dubai.

Kimmi Says:

Apparently they can’t schedule Shahar Peer to play center court due to security reasons or something? Does anyone know?

Her first match with Wickmayer (13 seed) was on COURT1 (OK, this one not too obvious) but today she played Wozniacki (1 seed) on COURT1. Tomorrow the only Qtr final scheduled on Court 1. Mmmmh, I think we have a trend here..

I guess the organizers will be scratching their heads if she continue winning…I hope she does, just to see where they will schedule her semi match..COURT1 anyone? hehehehe!

Andrew Miller Says:

Blake might win and needs to win.

Blake always rises to the occasion against big players – just not players he was/is “supposed to beat.” He tends to play well against Federer, just not Stepanek or others like him.

Hence…Blake’s decline, in my opinion. Sad to admit, one of my favorite players but I dont think he will smell a slam semifinal or even a Masters semifinal anytime soon.

Hopefully he defies that and does. I just dont think so.

Andrew Miller Says:

Blake’s go for broke style also makes it almost impossible to win on an off day; there’s not a whole lot of match strategy going on.

jane Says:

Roddick’s having no problem so far. As you say, Andrew, no a lot of strategizing on Blake’s part.

sar, I know Djoko also practiced there and I think I read he is moving there from Monte Carlo (maybe you posted that here).

Kimmi, I didn’t hear that, but I am glad she is getting some revenge.

Andrew Miller Says:

Jane, how do you see Guga Kuerten? Blake is plays similar style but is less consistent (arguably less talented); Federer plays a more innovative version of Kuerten’s game, with more tools. I have a tough time looking at Federer, apart from his serve, as a protoge of Sampras. He kind of looks more like the Kuerten/Lendl mode – Kuerten’s attitude plus Lendl’s discipline, with more refined ground strokes (a vastly wider repertoire of shots).

Kimmi Says:

The match is getting to the danger point now..4 all second set. Lets see

Kimmi Says:

Blake is ranked 55 now, he will always be the toughest draw for top seed in the frist round. Tough draw for Roddick!

Kimmi Says:

oh no..0-40 three sets points for Blake

Kimmi Says:

There! 6-4 second set for blake and he start to serve in the third set..guess it does not matter. Roddick was serving first in san jose final and still lost..

Sad Smiles Says:

Can I get the online stream of this match ?

Kimmi Says:

I don’t have live streaming sorry. I think it starts tomorrow.

Kimmi Says:

Roddick breaks and i think this will be the end of blake.

jane Says:

Roddick got the break to serve for it, but at least Blake made a match of it. He doesn’t usually strategize, but he must’ve done something right in the end to keep it close.

Andrew, I see Keurten as less go-for-broke in style (at least that’s what I remember, and most of my memories of him are on clay, of course); he could really work a point. Keurten wasn’t too shabby at the net, he had that fine one-handed backhand and a strong forehand too (don’t know why but the way in which Djoko hits his forehand sometimes reminds me of how Guga hit his). His serve was consistent, too. Exciting rallies, with lobs, drop shots, lots of variety. I guess Blake has the variety too, but somehow I don’t think he works through his points like Guga. Maybe it’s the clay vs hard court disparity?

Kimmi Says:

Blake broke back when Roddick serving for the match..has it happened before, Roddick is the best match finisher out!

jane Says:

Oh wow Blake breaks back. Interesting…

Andrew, further to above, I think it’s the angles Guga went for on his forehand sometimes that remind me of how Djoko sometimes works the lines. Maybe that’s what it is; does Blake think about placement much?

jane Says:

It’s looking like a 3rd set tiebreak…

Kimmi Says:

yap, tie break jane

jane Says:

I think Roddick will win, but again, kudos to Blake for making it a nail-biter.

Kimmi Says:

yap, he won..Looks like a great match

jane Says:

Kimmi, you should watch these half pipe finals – wow! The height these riders get, holy crap! I think this is the most, or one of the most exciting events to watch. Every time they leave the pipe to get amplitude it freaks me out. Sean White of the USA is amazing. I’ve seen live skateboarding half pipe but not live snowboarding half pipe. But I wanna.

Kimmi Says:

jane, I’m just learning all these different types of winter sports. I never new they do it on snow too. I agree the height is amazing! WOW! That canadian guy who started first did not do a very good one but lets see they have another round to take.

Kimmi Says:

Oh No..a lot are falling. Maybe the canadian guy did not do a bad one at all…

jane Says:

I think our better boarder didn’t qualify for the finals; he fell earlier in the qualifications. But just to see what Sean White can do on a board makes it worth it. He is a phenomenon…

Kimmi Says:

Sean White did even a better one in the second round..a deserving GOLD he repeats they say. Is he like the Roger federer of snowboarding? hehehehe!

jane Says:

Yes Kimmi – even more so, because he is also a phenomenon on a skateboard too, and he plays guitar! And he is only 23. Apparently, when he was just around 16 he was already doing the tricks and amplitude that the very best boarders were doing. Interesting story. The Americans have had a great day in medals. We got a silver in ladies’ speed skating, so that’s good. Plus another rout in women’s hockey…

Kimmi Says:

Great story about Mr White. I saw a little bit of speed skating ladies (just highlights), so it did not give me the chills :(

“Plus another rout in women’s hockey…” lol

..its really been easy so far. i asked my friends at work “not much resistance so far, so which team they should worry about?” They said US team..and that will be the difference between a gold medal or not. hmmmm!

Fot Says:

I’m glad Lindsey and Shani came through too!

jane Says:

Yes, Lindsey’s run was especially great FoT. Congrats on your big medal day (and thanks for the kind wishes on the other thread too :))

guy Says:

roddick has never been an aggressive player, people only think that because he has an abusive personality and a big serve.
his baseline game is pure percentage pushing, always has been, waits for mistakes so guys can break themselves. then serves it out. works pretty well.
but that’s why people like federer tee off on his groundstrokes. he’s just like hewitt, except with a bigger serve and a crappier net game.

margot Says:

von: hope u at least have a T-shirt with “Vonncoover” on it! Thought of you the moment I saw it!

Von Says:

margot: You lured me into posting to answer your question. No, I don’t have a T-shirt with “vonncoover” written on it, but I could and it would be very apropos. My name has 2 ‘n’s. Thanks for thinking of me, and I’ll echo back at ya, Willie Nelson’s “You’re always on my mind”. LOL.

Kimmi Says:

jane: i have followed Shahar peer story again. Very interesting. Today she beat Li Na and she is now in the semi (Li Na retired after hurting her back ). Now I understand this security story a little more..sounds like the Dubai tournament is very worried for her well being, Israelis can get killed over there you know, very worrying. She will play semi with Venus but on COURT2 (i saw order of play on WTA tour site), I guess if she beats Venus..the final will be on closed doors..WOW!


Andrew Miller Says:

From Pete Bodo on Roddick:

“But isn’t it great how Roddick has never lost his appetite for the game or the faith that on any given day he can overcome his opponent? It doesn’t matter whether past history says he can’t — believing he can always puts him within shot. When Roddick wins Wimbledon (and I’m confident he will, one day), it will be a moment to rival Goran Ivanisevic’s triumph there.” – 15 February 2010

Daniel Says:

Roddick hit an exchange at the net into Lu’s body (almost hit his stomach and not even lift his racquet to pretend to be polite). That was bad,
he won the game with a double fault and kept complaining, what is going on, he seems very angry!!!

jane Says:

Wow Kimmi, that’s sad. Too bad politics (and in this case religion, as the two are sometimes linked) carry forth and affect people so deeply that they create intolerance and/or prejudice. I hope Peer does get to the final and is able to play safely, which, unfortunately means behind closed doors. Here’s to winds of change and a world without intolerance.

Kimmi Says:

OMG, what a win by the Canadian hockey team. So close, so close. Phew!!

jane Says:

“Phew!” is right Kimmi – nail biter shoot out.

Kimmi Says:

jane @ 10:06PM Yap, horrible isn’t it, exactly what I wa thinking.

“Here’s to winds of change and a world without intolerance.’ Lets hope so.

contador Says:

well, since there is not much audience, for the current matches, and this thread has kimmi and jane, i’ll just sneak in this soderling, “he played better than me” post-match interview.

i’m liking soda more and more, though disappointed he didn’t figure out the tricky Llordra.

Kimmi Says:

contador, I like soda too and have listen/read few of his interviews win or lose. Its not easy to do well on back to back tournaments, especially for somebody with his calibre.. a good rest is what he needs to get ready for american hardcourts.

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