Soderling Bows Out Ahead of Nadal Rome Challenge; Djokovic, Verdasco Meet Again
by Sean Randall | April 29th, 2010, 11:56 pm
  • 168 Comments

Well, just days after a Roger Federer v. Rafael Nadal possible semifinal match was squashed, today Robin Soderling came up short ending hopes of a rematch between the Swede and Nadal in the quarterfinal. But, we are left with Novak Djokovic and Fernando Verdasco and a couple other decent matches Friday at the Tennis Masters Rome.

Soderling was dismissed rather routinely by Stan Wawrinka 6-3, 6-2. Of course many of us were looking forward to Robin playing Rafa in a rematch of the Swede’s incredible French Open but. But I get the feeling that Robin wasn’t quite that enamored with the idea.

The way Nadal’s been playing – he ripped up Victor Hanescu today 6-3, 6-2 – it’s hard to see anyone, even Soderling, beating him right now. And from Robin’s point of view, he does on a win over Nadal in their last clay meeting at Roland Garros, maybe it’s psychologically better for him to keep that memory fresh with the slight chance of seeing the beast again in Paris then, getting roughed up by Rafa tomorrow and thus losing any kind of edge. No I won’t say Robin tanked, but like Federer the other day, Robin’s not going to beat himself up over this loss.

And personally, I think Rafa’s going to be Soderling senseless anyway be it in Rome, Madrid or Paris. But by putting that beating, er meeting, off until Paris maybe Robin can draw something from that Chatrier Court experience of last year.

Worth a mention, Nadal’s still not happy with his play this week.

“I played with less intensity after the 4-1,” said Nadal who sounded rather irked after failing to take Hanescu to the bakery. “It’s impossible to play with less intensity at this level and if you stop your intensity a little bit, the other player can get you in big trouble. Yes, I was lucky. I saved a few shots with a good serve and a good forehand so the important thing is that I won 6-2, and I had some problems with myself in the last two games but I saved them.”

Also today David Ferrer knocked out Andy Murray. Djokovic get over on Thomas Bellucci and in the match of the day Ernests Gulbis backed up his win over Federer with another gut-check victory over Filippo Volandri this time in a third set tiebreak.

“I played a little strange but I’m very happy that I won today,” said Gulbis who is still only 21. “I think that is the most important thing because I won against Federer two days ago and the next match is mentally very tough.”

Gulbis now plays Feliciano Lopez who earned a walkover when Ivan Ljubicic hurt a rib in the warm up. Yes, players really do get injured even in the warms. Sad but true.

JW Tsonga was also a winner today beating Santiago Giraldo. Tsonga now plays David Ferrer in one bottom half quarter while Verdasco and Djokovic lock-up in the other one.

The top half tomorrow features Nadal against Wawrinka along with Gulbis and Lopez.

As for my picks, I think Wawrinka will give Nadal his toughest match of the clay season. Stan was a finalist two years ago in Rome and clay is his best surface so I expect a good match from the Swiss.

Tsonga and Ferrer is a pick-em as they say. The two have never played before. Ferrer we know is one of the top tier claycourters but Tsonga has the offense to hit through the Spaniard. But I like Ferrer.

“Maybe this season is my best of my career on clay courts,” said Ferrer. “I’ve never won a lot of matches like this year and I’m happy for that. I think my game is very physical, very mental – it’s important for me, winning matches on clay courts, my favourite surface.”

I also think Gulbis keeps the run going against Lopez – I have to believe Ernests will “find” F-Lo’s backhand to good reward – and in the big match, I think Novak turns the tables on Verdasco. Fernando’s played a lot of tennis lately and I feel Novak will have revenge and atonement on his mind for his piss-poor performance against the lefty in Monte Carlo.

And Roger Federer is back in doubles action Friday. He and buddy Yves Allegro will tackle the tall American duo of Sam Querrey and John Isner at 3pm local time, 9am East in the U.S.

CENTER COURT start 1:00 PM
[6] F Verdasco (ESP) vs [2] N Djokovic (SRB)
[7] J Tsonga (FRA) vs [13] D Ferrer (ESP)
[3] R Nadal (ESP) vs S Wawrinka (SUI)
Not Before 8:30 PM
E Gulbis (LAT) vs F Lopez (ESP)
N Almagro (ESP) / M Granollers (ESP) vs [2] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA)

PIETRANGELI start 3:00 PM
J Isner (USA) / S Querrey (USA) vs [WC] Y Allegro (SUI) / R Federer (SUI)
P Cuevas (URU) / J Monaco (ARG) vs [WC] S Bolelli (ITA) / P Starace (ITA)
[7] L Kubot (POL) / O Marach (AUT) vs [3] L Dlouhy (CZE) / L Paes (IND)


Also Check Out:
Verdasco, Gulbis Showdown Friday in Barcelona
Federer, Nadal Seeded to Meet in Rome Semifinals
For The First Time In Nearly Two Years, Roger Federer Ranks Ahead Of Rafael Nadal
Nadal, Federer Face Tough Draws at French Open
Novak Djokovic: “I’m Physically Fit And Ready For The Challenges That Will Come”

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168 Comments for Soderling Bows Out Ahead of Nadal Rome Challenge; Djokovic, Verdasco Meet Again

jane Says:

Why are all of Novak’s matches early? Argh, I’ve missed all of them because they’re first on. Sigh. Oh well, I guess I’ll just sleep with my fingers crossed. : /


blah Says:

Well, Soderling lost to Nadal 0-6 1-6 in rome last year before beating him in FO, and these two guys do not like each other, and Soderling had beat Nadal again after FO in year end masters, so I don’t think he really wanted to avoid it. Might work out better for him though to avoid giving Nadal any more confidence.


margot Says:

Loved that interview with Gulbis too. Though, cheeky boy, did he never see Martina play, or Serena for that matter?
Fingers crossed for Djko, Gulbis, Tsonga and an ambulance ready for Warinka.


guy Says:

it’s a shame davydenko couldn’t make the clay season, he could have got some good results, being better than verdasco, ferrer, who are lapping up a lot of points right now.


Kimmi Says:

that will be something if gulbis gets another win today..and the draw is not too bad at all…good luck.

i guess we have to wait till grass season to see murray do his margic again. :( hopefully!

tsonga opportunity to get to the semi in master series this year…


Polo Says:

I googled that Gulbis interview and it was funny. It reminded me of dear departed Safin. I like Ernests for his earnest remarks that are quite humorous and the not usual trite answers you always get from other players. Gulbis can be put in the circle of quotable tennis players like Roddick, Safin and Ivanicevic.


contador Says:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpL5yVCz1CY

just thought i’d post thr gulbis post match interview- federer match.

says he can’t “wally” very cute!

AJDE NOLE!


Kimmi Says:

its a good match so far..hope it continues

Go hotsauce


contador Says:

it’s a tight one


OllyK Says:

Ajde, Noleeee! This is gonna be a looong one..


contador Says:

Polo-

i looked for erno’s post match interview on youtube and it wasn’t up yet. his interviews do remind of safin.

o don’t get espn2. my cable company doesn’t carry it. i’d have to get a dish where i live


contador Says:

Ollyk-

it’s intense and yes long-each game

break point hot sauce….yikes!


contador Says:

phew!

deuce


Kimmi Says:

breeeeak!

have to go! good luck to all players!


OllyK Says:

oh, no…:( where does Verdasco find all this strength?!!! Come on, Nole!!


contador Says:

you’re hot sauce looks just a little stronger.

bye Kimmi.

have to go soon too. was hoping to watch tsonga-ferrer but each game is a long hard fight in this match, so far.


margot Says:

Hi kimmi, please don’t be despondent about Andy, I’m not. For a start is was a million times better than MC! True yesterday his serve was awful and he certainly wasn’t as sharp as usual …but the second set was much more competitive. There was a point where the string in his raquet went early on and he just kept in there, gr8 to see! Also Andy looked so smiley and relaxed that was good to see too. Am v. positive.
Djko’s serve-yikes! Better than Andy’s but still does my head in. Am very impressed by Verdasco’s demeanor, gives away nothing, does he?


contador Says:

monte carlo and barca-

the spaniards look super fit and ripped. well maube not the “mosquito” but JCF is lean and meam, tough.


margot Says:

conty: thought jcf was the “mosquito.”


contador Says:

that game was better from nole. doesn’t appear he can out-power hot sauce. he has the speed but he’ll need a bag of tricks and great serving.

AJDE!


OllyK Says:

pleaaase use this break point, pleeaseee….


OllyK Says:

yeeeeeeeeees!!!! We’re back, baby!!!! :) Ajde, Noleee!


Kimmi Says:

crap! choking and some realy good shot for djok to break


contador Says:

Margot-

been getting up at 5 qm and to work by 8

i have tooth picks holding the lids open. my sentences are nearly incoherent.

i did mean JCF is the mosquito and the only spaniard not obviously ridiculously “buff”

yesssssss, nole broke back!!

didn’t see andy’s match yesterday but really, great he went deeper than those last hc tourny’s. ferrer is just fierce on clay.

c’mon nole! hold please!


contador Says:

: (


margot Says:

conty: love your posts whatever,even if you have toothpicks for eyelids.
Djko have given away 6 double faults. Ouch!


contador Says:

thanks margot. i love tennis. even if federer is out. out not down, i hope. want him to comeback strong. go deep in the slams but maybe ‘share’ this year?

break point nole! c;mon


contador Says:

what a match!

tie break


MarkoPolo Says:

I have to go to work!!!!!!! Nando is great!!!!! Nole’s serve is atrocious and that may cost him the match!!!!!! I don’t want to jinx him but it cost him the set so far!!!!!!! Hajde Nole!!! Ollyk, Jane, Duro and the rest please do all the cheering he definately needs it!!!!!!! Hajde Nole!!!! Forza Nole!!!!!! Alez Nole!!!!!!


contador Says:

hahahaaa

great, just great rallies when they get into it. unbelievable “gets” from nole with those backhands.

but hot sauce comes up with the easy points with his serve.


Polo Says:

To Contador: Here is the website for the Gulbis interview. If you cannot get it by clicking on it, you can get all interviews at the website for Italian Masters tennis, under news.

http://www.internazionalibnlditalia.it/1/PopNews.asp?LNG=EN&IDNews=554


C!P! Says:

great drama ,great shots ,great match so far!


margot Says:

Gr8 fight back from Djko, really thought he was gonna get first set. Come on Nole, don’t give up now!
conty: yes, I’d like to see a bit more sharing too. But Rafa is looking invinvible on clay, no?


OllyK Says:

great match! I thought Nole would take 1st set, too, margot.. :( Come on, Nole, make your 1st service work in 2nd, pls…


Polo Says:

Interesting set. Djokovic always seems to get his foot there but never quite makes it in. Nobody seems able to runaway with this match yet. Hope it remains as tightly played as the first set. I don’t know who to cheer for. But I don’t particularly like players who do a lot of chest pumping. It may be OK if he wins but if he losses at the end, it just looks like it was full of sound and fury signifying nothing.


OllyK Says:

Marko, don’t worry! We’ll do our best! And now is the time to “switch on” those wings on the back! :)


contador Says:

year after year now. rafa’s season is whole lotta clay with some grass and hc thrown in.

Polo-lolzzzz. “if you want some advice on how not to succeed….” and “russian roulette” very much safin : )

can’t wait until it’s uploaded to watch him say that stuff!

meanwhile: ajde and c’mon nole!

nole has to get creative here and not lose it.


OllyK Says:

Breeeak for Nole! :) Now, be patient and calm and hold, pls! AJDE!


Polo Says:

With Rafa cutting down on his tennis clay schedule, he will save enough energy to last for the rest of the year. I expect his records on grass (already excellent) and hardcourts to significantly improve.


contador Says:

probably. what did rafa cut out one tournament? i’d pick rafa to win RG, no question. but he’ll have more competition on grass and a whole lot more on hc.

hoping dePO, nalby and davy return for FO and roddick stays healthy for the grass. US Open. US WIDE Open this year.

go Nole! hold this time, AJDE!


margot Says:

Verdasco right off the boil now. Come on Djko!


OllyK Says:

And, yessss! Double break! This SHOULD be enough! Grest returns in last service game! :)


contador Says:

yeah, nando was pissed off about the “dry clay” apparently.

great hold , nole!


contador Says:

i doubt ferrer or tsonga can top either of these two.


OllyK Says:

oh, thank god he has one more break in his pocket…


margot Says:

Goodness, both their levels have dropped right off now. Both look as if they’ve run a couple of marathons!


jane Says:

“full of sound and fury signifying nothing.” Polo, I love MacBeth! I guess if the chest pumping works to get a player fired up during a match then it’s not meaningless, or no more so than the fist pumping and “come ons”. But I think it can be overdone, most definitely.

Sigh, Djok just lost a break, so it’s tough to say what’ll happen. The serve, the serve, the serve… sigh again.


Polo Says:

I agree that the US Open can be tagged US WIDE OPEN this year. Of the remaining majors, it will be the most competitive. The French is a no brainer- Nadal, of course. Wimbledon will be limited to Roger, Nadal and Roddick give or take who? I cannot name another player who can join that mix. Nole has not really shown much yet on grass.

Djokovic seems to be playing more calmly now. He usually does much better when he stops those antics which do nothing but confuse his game.


OllyK Says:

It looks like Nole has a problem with backhand shots right now..net or out, most of them. Come on, Nole, good serve is all you need right now. :)


Polo Says:

Who has the most annoying fist pump, male and female?


jane Says:

I’d put Murray in the mix on grass no? He won Queens last year and got to the semis, losing only to a hot Roddick and now 3 time Wimbledon finalist. But I agree with your top 3 Polo.


Polo Says:

Murray could have made my list but the way British press puts pressure on him and with his shakiy confidence right now, I think he has some huge obstacles to hurdle at Wimbledon.


jane Says:

Female it has to be Ivanovic, right? Just because she overdoes it. Male? Not sure, but I have always thought Hewitt uses the “come on” a little too much during some matches. I think Baggy was one of the first to do that chest pump over the heart, like he is reviving himself.LOL. Maybe that’s what Nole’s trying to do. ha ha. I like Rafa’s fist pump especially when he does it with a little jump.


OllyK Says:

2nd set for Nolee, yaay! Much better statistics than in 1st: no DF, 2 aces, 11 UEs, 70% of 1st service in…just keep up with good work, Nole! :)


jane Says:

Phew, well at least Djok got a set, that’s progress from Monte Carlo. I hope he can keep going.

Polo true about Murray and obstacles at Wimbledon. But I’d love to see him win there because I love watching him on grass; to me he’s a little like McEnroe on grass and he uses more variety on that surface – and that’s good stuff.


margot Says:

Gr8 that Djko got the set but what an awful set of tennis totally “forgettable” as commentator said.
jane: hope you did not get up early for this one!
polo: tut tut for not including dear Andy M. One of these days he will surprise. I think his confidence is on the rise again.


Polo Says:

Margot, I did not include Murray for the reasons I stated but I would love to fall flat on my face on that one.

Jane, I agree with you. I give the worst fist pump award to Ivanovic. It looks very timid, with her arm held close to the body and her head bowed downward, eyes shut and then she makes that tiny turn away from her opponent. I always thought that her silly fistpump lead to her incredible decline. If you will do a fistpump, go all the way! Let the world see and hear it.


jane Says:

No margot – just woke up now, when I had to. I don’t care if match is ugly one as long as Novak wins. : ) And especially if I haven’t been watching. LOL. Sometimes they have to win ugly. Like Sampras said, heart and mind, and if the shots aren’t clicking, gut it out. Whatever it takes.


contador Says:

i’ll reserve my tongue on answering the most annoying fist pump in the men’s game, Polo. i would be in hot water with my opinion. i’ll just say the top most annoying to me isn’t murray’s.

ana’s fist pumping would be cute, if she won more.

AJDE NOLE! play smart and please win, please.

bye guys. busy work day this friday.

will peek at who won on lunch break.


jane Says:

Hi conty “ana’s fist pumping would be cute, if she won more.”
I agree. Poor girl.


margot Says:

jane: not enough energy levels for it to be “ugly.”


jane Says:

margot, whatever it is, they’re playing, they’re fighting, they’re in a 3rd set. Give em credit I guess.


jane Says:

Fed and Allegro are down a break to the tall guys.


jane Says:

Nole’s first serve has gone MIA again – doesn’t bode well. Novak needs to get his serves firing again, on a consistent basis, or he won’t be winning anything soon. Both Djok and Murray need to work hard on their second serves too.


margot Says:

Ah! This set has picked right up again and I love the way Djko’s fighting. You can see how he’s suffering in the heat though, while I imagine the Spaniards love it. Why are there no masters in Sweden, Norway or Denmark? I’m sure us cold Northern Europeans would do very well if there were.
Come on Djko! Keep fighting! The match ain’t over yet by a long way.


Polo Says:

Margot, don’t you think Verdasco is suffering, too? Did you see how much hard time he had to spend fixing his hair during the break?


jane Says:

Hotsauce is even doing Rafa’s water bottle thing. LOL.

I hate to say it, but Djok’s toast I think. : (

Oh well … what can you do? Nadal will win the title anyhow.


contador Says:

lolzzzzzz

Polo-

that’s too funny….verdasco suffering hair trouble….

‘Margot, don’t you think Verdasco is suffering, too? Did you see how much hard time he had to spend fixing his hair during the break?’

had to peak in here to see score….arrrgh!

AJDE! c’mon, fight! break back!


margot Says:

Polo: Gr8 remark, you made me laugh out loud! That cap must be doing dreadful things to his hair style darling, how can he bear to wear it?
jane: no no, not over yet!


OllyK Says:

moment of truth….ajde, Noleee! Remember 1st set! :)


jane Says:

Ah well, congrats to Hotsauce – Kimmi you too.

Am very saddened for Djok’s loss of form :’ ( Last year he was so exciting to watch on clay, until the FO that is. Maybe he’ll surprise us Nole fans and be great at the FO this year? MarkoPolo, Duro, OllyK, sar, stu, contador, etc, let’s hope. But imo, he’s definitely not the player he was last year at this time. He still fought today and thus it was a much better performance than what Sean calls his “piss poor” performance in Monte Carlo. So for that I am grateful. Good luck to him in Serbia! I hope he does well there for sar and Duro. ; )

Good luck to Hotsauce versus Tsonga or Ferrer – sheesh I guess this could be an all Spaniard semis if Tsonga, Wawa (who am I kidding), or Gulbis don’t crash the party. Could be F-Lo vs Nadal and Hotsauce vs. Ferrer.


stu Says:

Add Verdasco to the list of people Nole has become emotionally vulnerable to, which currently consists of Roger, Rafa, Andy, Jo Willie, probably even Tommy Haas.


jane Says:

True what commentators are saying: Verdasco played a very smart match; he’s doing so well these days at keeping his head – good for him and nice to see. We’ve all known he’s a player of great talent but now he’s putting it all together. Major kudos to him for that!


Polo Says:

What a wonderful match! Congratulations to Verdasco. Nole also played well and should gain more confidence after this match. He is continuously improving. It may be a blessing for Nole. I don’t think he is ready to face Nadal and being wiped out by Rafa would not do him any good. Rafa and Verdasco are the best players on clay so far this year. Nole was able to challenge until the end. Although a loss, this is a step on the right direction.


OllyK Says:

Congrats, Dasco fans!

Jane, I agree, Nole is not even close to last years clay-Nole! :( he can’t beat top10 player anymore. I hope he’ll surprise us at FO.
And now he has no reason to underperform at SO…so sar and Duro, I hope you’ll enjoy!


jane Says:

stu, I don’t know. I think Verdasco is just on a roll. Nole can beat him still imo. He wasn’t at his best today serve-wise, and too many errors, but he still kept it close. And let’s face it, Verdasco played tactically smart, the way he served, the lack of errors in the last set. Don’t give up hope for Nole; he just faced a, well, a hot player today. : ) Keep the faith. I am trying to.


jane Says:

Polo, I agree. Nice post, as usual.


jane Says:

Polo, I agree. Nice post, as usual.


margot Says:

Congrats to kimmi and all Verdasco fans. Hmm Djko and Andy M, both serving has gotta improve and both are hanging round the baseline when they are both so good coming forward. Why?
jane et al; I liked his fighting spirit, he never gave up.


stu Says:

I agree jane, my issue is that I don’t know where his game stands ATM coz one day everything clicks, the serve is okay (not great yet) the forehands and backhands are firing and then he comes back the next day as if somebody hypnotized him. Today he was alternating brilliant shots with inexcusable errors.

Anyway, you’re right about Nando, he’s been knocking on the door for really long, he’s a good tennis player and I’m glad to see him show some conviction.

Man, was it hot out there today!


contador Says:

can’t help it. sneaking the peek in from work.

verdasco was too tough. didn’t SEE the last set. : (

well congrats to Kimmi and hot sauce.

yes jane-

applause for to spanish armada closing in for their leader. ferrer wins, F-Lo wins…..nadal of course.

cheers the them, but i do dare hope Erno can poop their party? or tsonga.? poor wawa. he maybe gets more than a bagel and a breadstick…..nadal will be super mad at himself if wawa gets more than 2 or 3 games in two sets.


jane Says:

stu, I hear you; it’d be nice if he was more consistent. But maybe that’s coming back. Let’s just hope he can do a little better at the FO this year and make up for loss after loss. I guess Rafa can get back the number 2 seed at the FO now yes? Fed will be relieved.

margot, Djok came in 25 times today I think – or 17 – can’t remember, but a decent number of times. But yeah, he definitely can get in a defensive mode too. Murray definitely should come in more, imo. He’s great at the net, has such natural touch in those agile wrists. Baby steps I guess right? They both did a little better. Nole not in terms of end results, but in terms of his Verdasco match; Murray for going another round.


margot Says:

jane: you are right as usual, baby steps, both such talent though, SO frustrating! Gotta say Verdsaco’s roll is very impressive, especially as he says he prefers hard courts.


jane Says:

Ferrer just broke Tsonga to take the first set.


sar Says:

It would help if he could occasionally get a night match at tournaments.

It was strange how commentators were timing Verdasco in the third set. Is he known as a time waster?

I hope Nole wins SO. They gave Robredo a WC.


OllyK Says:

jane, I like your “always look on the bright side” aspect…I hope those babies will grow up very fast so they can make bigger steps as FO approaches. ;)
sar, yes…but I kind of understand organizers – Rafa MUST play evening match, as a biggest star, and they won’t put 2 best matches (well, at least, expected to be) one after another.. :/ But, night matches will be reserved for Nole at SO. Last year was like that, I don’t think they’ll change it this year. And, I hope he’ll win it, too. Mostly because of you and Duro. :)For him..it won’t be bad even if he loses early and rests for Madrid. ;)

Btw, what an easy win for Ferrer! Wow!!!


Polo Says:

It’s noon time and I still haven’t had my bagel.


jane Says:

Polo, lol. No Bagel but Ferrer served up a breadstick. Wow – surprised to see Tsonga go down so meekly. No doubt Ferrer is having a great season on clay though! Most match wins so far on this surface I believe.


jane Says:

OllyK, I am not happy or anything, but he did play a thriller of a match, and fought until the end. So I am just trying to find the positives. Mostly I am quite sad that he lost. But since his clay schedule is packed, it may be good that he has a little down time before Belgrade and then Madrid right after.

sar, when do you leave?


C!P! Says:

things are looking great for Wawrinka at the moment ,he is hitting the ball extremely well ,but i’m afraid that coming to the second set that will stop


C!P! Says:

ans Rafa is serving so poorly right now…


margot Says:

Stan’s playing inspired tennis at the mo. How long can he keep this up?


Ezorra Says:

EEuuuuwwww… GET A ROOM!


Polo Says:

I hope that is his wife.


rose Says:

the king of clay is not looking so dominating right now..wawrinka is using the corners well, moving nadal left and right and attacking his backhand. nadal having problems holding his serve so far…i always like wawrinka’s game ..he is a pretty smart player and he knows how to play nadal..last time they meet nadal won 7-6 7-6 on hard court, but it wawrinka could of easily take those sets. lets not forget wawrinka moves really nicely on cley court ..if im not mistaking he was the junior FO champion..it looks like an interesting match and so far wawrinka is looking like a legit threat to nadal..lets see what happens..


C!P! Says:

i’m glad finally someone puts Rafa to work!


Polo Says:

Nadal is not playing well. Wawrinka is playing extremely well. But they remained tied. What does that tell me?


margot Says:

Polo: lol, she’s in trouble if her husband is watching….and agree with your last observation…


NELTA Says:

Nadal isn’t playing badly at all. Wawrinka is hitting quite a few winners and his serve has kept Rafa off balance. If Rafa is returning your serve with no problems you are in big trouble. All it will take is one service game where Wawrinka has a low 1st serve % and Rafa will probably break.


stu Says:

“So I knew it was going to be a long match today. The match could have gone either way. It was decided by one or two points.”

Ridiculous comment from Nole. The scoreline wasn’t 7-6 6-7 7-6, and its not like he had too many chances to break back in set 3!


Ezorra Says:

breakbreakbreakbreakbreak… please…


contador Says:

well, Polo….

i am not watching but, making a guess here.

rafa is going to go into madal mode, up his game right now, win this set and serve stan a bagel, maybe a breadstick 2nd set.


Ezorra Says:

VAMOS!


jane Says:

Great set – awesome way for Rafa to finish it.


C!P! Says:

quod erat demonstrandum ! Wawrinka was playing too good of a tennis to last very long!


margot Says:

Rafa turns the heat up when it counts, astonishing competitor! however, looking on the bright side Stan has already taken more games in one set than verdasco did in the whole match at MC.


C!P! Says:

BTW ,good observation from your side NELTA


rose Says:

nicely done nadal ..until now he had not chances to break and as soon as he sees an opportunity ..he executes..he even got a standing ovation from uncle tony :


sar Says:

Leaving tomorrow.


Polo Says:

That’s how Nadal breaks his opponents’ spirits. A set can look very close then all of a sudden he takes it away. Federer used to do that, too.


sar Says:

Anyone watching JJ and Henin? JJ took first set.


C!P! Says:

even though i like Gulbis very much ,i hope Lopez will win also today ,so i can be completely proud of my lefties .lol


C!P! Says:

the highest quality match i’ve seen this clay court season


contador Says:

i’ll be very surprised if Ernie wins today. let F-lo take the semi-final beating. and might as well make it 4 for 4 spain. they deserve it.


Polo Says:

Fernando Lopez has not really been a big threat to anybody for quite a while now. I don’t even think clay is his best surface. I would not be surprised if Gulbis beats him. Although I would not mind seeing all 4 Spaniards in an Italian Masters semifinals. And 3 of them lefties.


rose Says:

I agree with contador ..the Spaniards players are just dominating this clay season..its almost ridiculous how well they are playing…. I’m also rooting for a Spaniards semifinal affair


jane Says:

Yep Rafa is in madal mode. Will we see a bagel or a breadstick though??


Polo Says:

I really hope Wawrinka does not get bageled. He does not deserve the humiliation considering he played very well in the first set.


C!P! Says:

if Nadal can bagel such a good Wawrinka ,that is really scary man!


contador Says:

verdasco-nadal final? ( MC final )

or ferrer-nadal final?

or F-Lo – nadal final?

you have to be a huge rafa fan to be thrilled at the prospect of any of those match-ups, though the other spaniards are great.

none of them perform well against nadal. wawa getting 5 games is a tremendous effort.


contador Says:

oops…..that’s right it’s a rafa- f-lo semi

unless gulbis can perform a miracle but why would he?

rafa will just hammer him. not a good thing for Erno.


Polo Says:

Nadal will win this match but in interviews, he will say thay he is not satisfied. Djokovic lost and he was pleased with his game. That is the difference between these two.


contador Says:

that’s it. rafa serving for match.

wawa at least got a breadstick.

thank-you, rafa.


rose Says:

woowww..what a difference from the first set…nadal just worn out stan..kudos to stan tho ..he played an exquisite first set but keeping the kind of level against nadal is pretty much impossible


contador Says:

sheeesh. you are so right, Polo.

no more mr. nice guy, NOLE!


C!P! Says:

that’s all folks ! back to the bakery!


jane Says:

So only a breadstick to snack on today. : ) Good win Rafa! He is simply the BEST on clay.


Polo Says:

Contador, it would be good for Ernests to play Nadal. He is young and upcoming. It does not matter if he gets hammered. One has to feel what its like to play a great player and it could offer him a valuable lesson which could help later in his career.


jane Says:

Okay time for Ernie to crash this Spanish semifinal party. GO GULBIS!!! Party poop again!


rose Says:

Nadal to the semis..great win for nadal..he wasn’t so sharp today but just good enough against an excellent competitor..congrats 2 the king of clay


contador Says:

uh Polo. hasn’t ernie been hammered already by nadal a big stage at wimbles?

but ya, i see your point. just not too keen on watching such a mis-match. no-one is up to hanging with nadal at the moment.

at least rafa should have a real challenge. a healthy nalby? i on’t see it. there is no competition for rafa.


Polo Says:

I like this kid Gulbis to keep winning just so he can continue to give his hilarious interviews.


margot Says:

I hope Gulbis comes through, don’t think he would be intimidated by Rafa. Don’t think he’s consistent enough to win though.


Polo Says:

Even if Ernests gets thrashed by Nadal, there is no shame in that because Nadal does it to the best of them. Even Verdasco who is second best on clay this year got bageled and breadsticked by Nadal.


jane Says:

contador, I don’t think Gulbis was hammered by Rafa at Wimbledon; in fact, even then Gulbis played pretty well. I hope he gets to the semis. Fingers crossed for Ernests!


contador Says:

thanks jane, Polo, and margot-

i can’t watch the match, not even livescore cos i have to i won’t be near a computer in a few minutes. talk about bad timing!

cheer him on! Go Gulbis!

his interviews are great. just like marat’s. : )


Polo Says:

Yes, Jane you are correct. Let’s hammer Contador instead. Hahaha!

Rafa indeed had a hard time with Gulbis in the 2008 Wimbledon. The score was: 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (7-2), 6-3


tennisfansince76 Says:

“jane Says:
contador, I don’t think Gulbis was hammered by Rafa at Wimbledon; in fact, even then Gulbis played pretty well.”

actually if I remember rightly Gulbis won the first set 7-5. His big serve and big hitting were bothering Rafa. then in the second set Rafa satrted slicing his backhand alot into the Gulbis forehand and Gulbis couln’t handle the off pace. after that it was error city and three straight easy sets for Rafa.


jane Says:

Nice dropper Ernie! And he breaks back. : )


jane Says:

Hold Gulbis – is any one else watching?


margot Says:

jane I am, ernie fights back! Come on!


jane Says:

Nice lob Gulbis!


jane Says:

Oh god Ernie blew chunks on that set point; what was he thinking!?


jane Says:

Gulbis~redemption~! Love it, love it. Conty, he is so fun to watch! I hope you’re taping this.


margot Says:

conty: you can come out now and stop hiding your eyes- ernie has the first set with lovely variety of shot and intelligent play. Gr8!
BTW what is the matter with Lopez’s shorts, they are truly horrible and then he goes and pulls them up, which makes them worse! Shouldn’t be allowed on a tennis court with shorts like that IMHO!


margot Says:

ernie on a roll now. He’s come of age and fulfilling all that promise and it’s just so nice to see it.


jane Says:

You think Gulbis wants a shot at Rafa? I do. His forehand – WOW!

margot – lol on F-Lo’s shorts. What bothers you so much about them?


jane Says:

Is Ernie baking a bagel??


margot Says:

jane: yes, looks as if ernie is at the baker’s. Those shorts yuk, yuk too short, riding up the inner thigh, need I go on??


jane Says:

Looks like he’s going to serve a breadstick instead margot. Maybe he felt a bagel too filling. I see what you mean – bad cut on those shorts, riding up indeed. Go Gulbus – finish it off!!


jane Says:

Ernie – finishes with aplomb and crashes the Spanish party!


margot Says:

conty: your man was fab., just fab. Excuse me, just clambering onto his bandwagon, hope you don’t mind.
jane: nice chatting to you, we’ve shared a lot of tennis today, first match was a definate low but this one a definate high. see you tomorrow.
von: hope you catch this, thanks for kind words about andy. I’m not despondent, at least it was much better than monte Carlo lol. Is your Andy playing any tournaments b4 FO? Or is he breezing in on a high from his hols?


Polo Says:

Good job by Gulbis. I think he is learning a lot with each match. His best lesson is yet to come tomorrow. But for now, he should be happy and remember that feeling so he will strive to experience it again and again. He should not even think of beating Nadal nor think that getting bagled by Nadal would be humiliating. Play Nadal tomorrow to learn. It would serve him well later.

Congratulations to Gulbis. And Contador, too, of course.


Huh Says:

The funniest thing is days back so many were predicting doom and gloom for Nadal!


Huh Says:

Rafa looks well prepared to regain his FO at this point. Hopefully he is able to give his best at the FO & WIM.


jane Says:

margot – cheers, nice chatting with you as well. Make room for me on the top of the Gulbis bus. Have always liked the guy but he was such a let-down. So fabulous to see it meshing for him right now. And as Polo says, this is all *regardless of what happens* tomorrow versus Rafa.


Eric Says:

How amazing/hilarious would it be Gulbis actually beats Nadal too?


Fot Says:

Hey guys! I have been so busy lately that I haven’t seen a lot of these matches since my Roger lost! Many surprises (Murray out; Djokovic out). I was pulling for Stan (him being my 2nd favorite player) but I kind of knew he wasn’t going to win today. But great showing by Stan.

I don’t care for Gulbis but I’m glad he broke up the “Spanish party”! So at least ONE player in the SF will not be from Spain! lol!

On Verdasco, why do I get the feeling that he’s playing so much tennis before the French Open that he’ll fizzle out when that tourmanent starts? Just a hunch I have about him.

I’m already gearing up for next week’s tournament in Estoril. I didn’t expect a lot from Roger in Rome, but I DO think he’ll be better in Estoril.

Also, on an ‘old’ note…remember when we were discussing the “ATP Sportsmanship Award” winner and why Roger wins it all the time instead of – say – Nadal or some of the other players? Here is another reason why players in general like Roger. People say he doesn’t have a personality on court – but off court – Roger is very, very friendly towards all the players. He even goes out of his way to speak and talk to them. Here was what was written about John Isner:
===============================================
The next day, Isner was killing time playing some arcade-style golf game in the Cincy player lounge, when Roger Federer approached him and told Isner he’d heard about his struggles with mono. They had a conversation about mono. “Roger told me to listen to my body,” Isner said. “He said if I felt spent, I shouldn’t be afraid to pull out of a tournament, or even a match. ‘Don’t be afraid or ashamed to do it,’ he said. For Roger to take the time to do that, I thought that was pretty cool.”

So put another gold star next to Federer’s photo on that employee-of-the-year contest chart. I see a reserved parking space near the main door for a month in this guy’s future!

http://tennisworld.typepad.com/tennisworld/2010/04/trk.html

(And Roger does things like this all the time, no matter if it’s a highly ranked player, or a college prep player!)


Ezorra Says:

C!P!, for novak’s fans too!


contador Says:

YAY!! Laughing and crying….polo. go ahead give me the hammering!

margot, jane, polo….everyone who likes ernie’s rollercoaster, c’mon, get on with me!

i am so bummed i missed the match today and F-lo” “wardrobe malfuntioning shorts” and no i don’t have it on dvr…have to catch highlights when somebody puts them up on youtube.

thanks for the commentary too. GO GULBIS!

not that i really want to watch rafa take erno to clay court school but i agree polo, this will be another pants pooper match for him like the federer one, playing the undisputed king of clay. big congrats for Erno!

and my wish for him to somehow tomorrow ummm, please don’t get bagelled. gotta keep expectations realistic. even mergo888 wasn’t nuts enough to pick gulbis over rafa.

back to work for me but i am smiling, grinning ear to ear!

wooooot! GULBIS


Kimmi Says:

WOOOOOW! very happy for Nando. Another great perfomance. Sorry Djoko fans.

Is this guy for real, how does he get all the energy to play these hard fought matches ? very fit..very fit. The ATP site are calling verdasco the IRON MAN too lol…funny, I think Djoko was also called iron man one time.

OK, I guess he will now lose to ferrer..it is impossible to go on, no?

Fot, I agree about verdasco getting tired and lose early in FO but he seem to be fit enough, there is a week btw rome and madrid and another week between madrid and FO. A lot of people including myself thought he could not keep it up in barca..he did it…and now still going strong in rome..wow and wow!

Conty!! margot and jane, I am on gulbis bus too. He did it. Semi final of MS 1000..great accomplishment. Now he was able to do one semi, he can do many more. I think his goal of being seeded in RG and wimbledon will be realized. His ranking will improve big time. CONGRATS!


Ben Pronin Says:

Nice story, Fot. There have been stories like that for years. I still remember Blake talking about how Federer sent him a get-well-type card back when Blake broke his neck. It’s nice to hear about players interacting on such good terms like this, especially during a time when all the players keep to their own entourages so much.


skeezerweezer Says:

Contador,

Congrats on the Gulbis run….:).Pretty exciting stuff :)


Von Says:

An article on Nadal and Djokovic matches.

http://tennis.fanhouse.com/2010/04/30/nadal-rolls-into-semis-djokovic-ousted-from-italian-open/

The article states, there were 86 UEs in the Djoko/Verdasco match.

Someone had posted some stats on the amount of UEs committed in the Fed/Gulbis match, but I think the Djoko/Verdasco match UE count was much higher.

Djokovic seems somewhat pleased with his performance:

“My backhand wasn’t at the level I wanted it to be at today, and I struggled a little with my serve, but I’m happy more or less with the way I played,” Djokovic said. “If there was one different thing I could’ve done I would have liked to play better on the important points.”

I’m sure he’ll have time to up his performance by the time the FO rolls around.

Commiserations to Djoko’s fans, and congrats to Gulbis’ fans for getting to the SFs.


Von Says:

margot: Are you familiar with Dee’s woes? Here’s an article by a Judge ruling that “Dee is, in fact, the world’s worst pro tennis player.” OUCH.

http://tennis.fanhouse.com/2010/04/29/even-court-agrees-hes-the-worst-pro-tennis-player/

With respect to your question re: Andry R., I believe he plans on playing in madrid where he has QFs points to defend. I hope he returns all rested but not rusty.


contador Says:

hey skeezerweezer thanks. and Kimmi wlcome to the Gulbis fan club, but it’s uphill and downhill, you never know.

maybe in all those post del ray interviews he was holding his cards close, really does love tennis, but likes to downplay the significance. he’s a jokester. for anyone who didn’t get to hear and see him post match today- very happy gulbis- having fun with the interview again-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxFAKLAr6AQ

his attitude Polo matches what you say. he’s happy to be playing rafa tomorrow.

(maybe f-lo wasn’t as eager)

Kimmi- i think hot sauce is playing great tennis but which one of his compatriots wants a final with rafa?


Kimmi Says:

conty: great interview. at least he knows what he needs to do tomorrow “not miss much like I did today” he said. very true. No free points to rafa Gulbis, let him beat you.

re:nando, It does not matter what rafa does to him, he is done sooo much already. I think with rafa unfortunately for verdasco, it is a bad match-up. If he goes to the final (which I doubt), I feel sorry for him, I think he will be double begaled coz apart from a bad match-up..he will be too tired to run. :( (ofcourse I hope he proves me wrong, because he is a very good player to have a Monte carlo kind of score)

I just watch a re-run of djoko/verdasco (i miss most od it this morning) and that match had so many long rallies. commentator was saying 1st and 3rd sets average rally was 7 shots. The match run was 3:17 hours..insane!

One match at a time for nando conty. Ferrer first, their match in barca was a hard fought 3 sets..think it will be another three sets if he can hang in there…can he survive?

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