Nadal, Verdasco Open Play in Bangkok; Davydenko Stunned in KL
by Sean Randall | September 29th, 2010, 11:47 pm
  • 44 Comments

After a week of Thailand promotions, Rafael Nadal finally gets back to the business of playing tennis on Thursday.

The World No. 1 is in action against qualifier Ruben Bemelmens in the second round at the Bangkok Open. Nadal, who hadn’t won a hardcourt title in 18 months until his US Open triumph, is the heavy favorite to continue his run on cement this week.

Nadal’s lefty countryman, Fernando Verdasco, who’s in the bottom half also open play. “Hot Sauce” goes up against Benjamin Becker.

Ernests Gulbis, a potential Nadal SF opponent, and Jurgen Melzer were winners today.

Across the way in Kuala Lumpur, the tournament lost its defending champion when qualifier Igor Andreev stunned fellow-Russian Nikolay Davydenko 7-6, 5-7, 6-3. In the other upset, 19-year-old Canadian Milos Raonic defeated Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-7(8), 7-6(9), 6-3.

“I’m happy that I kept my composure even after dropping a couple of set points in the first game,” said the 6-foot-3 Raonic after his second career ATP win. “I served well, which was good. It makes it easier when you don’t lose your serve all three sets.”

David Ferrer, Mikhail Youhzny and Marcos Baghdatis were also winners.

Tomorrow, Tomas Berdych and Robin Soderling are featured. And after beating Tomic, Ferrer plays another teen upstart in Yuki Bhambri.

At the WTA event in Tokyo, No. 3 seed Jelena Jankovic was the lone surprise of the day. The struggling Serb fell to Kaia Kanepi. American Coco Vandeweghe was a winner as were Caroline Wozniacki, Vera Zvonareva and Francesca Schiavone who ended 40-year-old Kimiko Date Krumm’s hopes.

Tomorrow boasts some good matches with Wozniacki v. Radwanska, Zvonareva v. Dementieva and Vandeweghe v. Azarenka.

BANGKOK THURSDAY SCHEDULE

CENTRE COURT start 12:00 noon
[7] V Troicki (SRB) vs J Nieminen (FIN)
B Becker (GER) vs [2] [WC] F Verdasco (ESP)
D Brands (GER) / I Dodig (CRO) vs [WC] D Tursunov (RUS) / K Wachiramanowong (THA)
Not Before 7:00 PM
[1] R Nadal (ESP) vs [Q] R Bemelmans (BEL)
M Kukushkin (KAZ) vs O Rochus (BEL)


Also Check Out:
Del Potro Confirms Return, He’ll Play Bangkok Next Week
Nadal Stunned in Bangkok; Wozniacki Takes Tokyo
Teen Grigor Dimitrov Wins Bangkok Challenger, Tennis Stardom Awaits? [Video]
Nadal Collects 60th Win, Verdasco Upset in Bangkok; Soderling, Berdych Cruise in KL
Murray Meets Dimitrov Tonight in Bangkok; Top Five Seeds Remain in KL

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44 Comments for Nadal, Verdasco Open Play in Bangkok; Davydenko Stunned in KL

zola Says:

Perhaps the first interesting match of the tournament ( after Delpo-Rochus) would be Rafa-Gulbis and then the winner and perhaps Verdasco in the final.


montecarlo Says:

verdasco is out. Awful awful performance :(


contador Says:

yeah? verdasco sucking? well, he’s got some memorable pictures on the thai open website though, if that’s any consolation. hot sauce posing as martial artist looks good.

i see berdych had no trouble from istomin in kuala lumpur. and i set alarm to wake up – waiting to stream soderling match – ferrer match after soderling’s. i may be falling back to sleep. 4:30 am zzzzzzzzzz

verdasco out does make bangkok disappointing unless gulbis can somehow manage to get by garcia-lopez tomorrow, which is not at all a sure thing considering how ernie played his last match. :/ not worth pulling a hamstring over, erno! rafa will be waiting- not good!


montecarlo Says:

Wow this Bemelmans guy looks really good. He is playing well in this second set leading 3-2 after losing first set 2-6.


Vulcan Says:

Is Nadal hitting the serve big still?


montecarlo Says:

not so big today, average speed. and first set was 6-1. Its over now 6-1,6-4


zola Says:

Nice match by Rafa. I missed the first set, but in the second Bemelmans was very impressive. Nice serve and great movement. He even drop shotted Rafa!

Didn’t see Verdasco’s match but a disappointing result. I thought he would challenge RAfa for the title.

If Rafa is playing Gulbis tomorrow, that would be an interesting match. RAfa’s serve today was only 58%. He needs to do much better than that against Gulbis.


zola Says:

oops! Rafa-Gulbis might be in the SF , not tomorrow!


Kimberly Says:

i didn’t see serve speeds but rafa won 92% of first serve points. I think only dropped two points the whole match on 1st serve. And decent % on seconds as well. The match stats on atp site sucks. No serve speeds or winner and errors. Unless I am missing something.

I think rafa will prob play rochus or another qualie tomorrow. then gulbis.


Vulcan Says:

Sounds like he had no need of hitting the three aces in a row the way he did to crush the Djoker’s hopes of winning that USO final. The question is…will he continue to try to serve big on hardcourts or was that US Open serve just a one time tactical secret weapon thing that he feels has now been expended.


zola Says:

Vulcan,
In the second set he had a few aces. But Bemelmans was playing very well. Also consider the fact that this was Rafa’s first match after the US Open. I think he will play better as the tournament goes on.

Kimberly
Thanks. 92% is much better. I think I should check back the ATP page when the stats are up.


Vulcan Says:

Zola,

I am really going to be curious to see how much emphasis and focus he places on his hard court tennis. The US Open was a major statement but can he back it up with one of the next three Masters events. He mentioned something about YEC at the US Open seemingly indicating that he intends to focus on righting that ship the way he did the US Open. Will he have the stamina to do it though…Federer has capped many of his stellar years with great YEC performances so I think as in many things Nadal will look to at least match Federer in that department.


Fot Says:

What ranking is this Bemelmans? I had never heard of him.


zola Says:

Vulcan,

Rafa did say that his next big goal is to do better at the YEC. he has never been to the final there and last year as uncle Toni said, there were 8 players and 7 of them were better than Rafa!

But other than that, I think he should just take it easy on his body. The hard courts take a big toll on his knees. He has 18 GS titles and several of them are on the hard courts. I hope he concentrates on the majors.

FoT
I think Bemelmans is not even top 100. But he played a very good second set against Rafa.He is 22 and will perhaps move up in the rankings pretty quickly.


mem Says:

Vulcan,

you sound just like david! are you david? did you change your name! david did a lot of stressing during the usopen over nadal’s serve and what he thought nadal would or would not be able to do, much like you are doing now. after nadal won the title, david’s name hasn’t been seen since, not to my knowledge.

rest assure, nadal is not trying to be roger or replace him. if you are concerned about roger’s records, they are here to stay and we are all aware of them and we respect them. you can sleep well!

also, no need to worry about an event that hasn’t happened yet or whether nadal can back up a statement. the YEC will take care of itself. nadal is doing what any dedicated competitor is suppose to do, work hard to continue improving, win as many matches as possible and if that leads to some success, then fantastic! he earned it! same applies to any player who is willing to put the work in to get there! you don’t have a problem with that, do you?


zola Says:

Vulcan,
I am sorry , I meant 18 MS titles, not 18 GS titles. I am just back from the dentist. Some of those drugs must have numbed my brain!


Kimberly Says:

fianlly, it is sunny and i can wear my new wozniaki dress this evening


grendel Says:

tp://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/tennis/patrick-mouratoglou/article/624/

Interesting article for Murray fans. I wonder who the top tenner is Mouratoglou was talking to?

And I wonder what Murray is up to? Does he take the defeat at the Open as just one of those things – his immediate comments seemed to suggest that – or is he going in for a major re-assessment? That won’t be easy for him. Some people with huge talent have the wrong kind of arrogance.


jane Says:

grendel thanks for that article. This bit … “It’s like he already knows he’s going to lose, is resigned to defeat and, worst of all, is helping Nadal’s best abilities to shine through” … reminds me a lot of what it was like during Fed’s dominance, since similar things were written about Roger then.

I agree with this: ” At the end of the day, tennis is the biggest loser.”

I know people love a dominant champion, but I’d rather see a few other people winning slams than Roger and Rafa.

I also agree that Murray needs to get his serve working consistently well (I posted Murray’s first serve percentage ranking on the previous thread, and he is 62nd on the list).

These other contenders – Murray, Delpo, Djoko, Roddick, Nalby, Berdy, Soda, Ernie (!!? put that there for you conty) – need to step up so someone else is winning the big titles once and a while.


contador Says:

ah Kimberly, i was wondering if you were drowning yet. i liked woz’s dress but have to admire you for wearing the canary yellow shorts. i would opt for black. but all of sharapova’s outfits are great. venus, not so much.

and NO! i actually want ernests to lose to garcia-lopez tonight. just say no to playing rafa, gulbis. ; )

( i think picking ernie to win is the same as assuring he doesn’t win, lol )

i looked up ruben bemelmans a couple days ago. belgian, young, and a little short ( 173 cm ? that’s shorter than me ) maybe the info was wrong or outdated on height.

yuki bhambri wasn’t completely awful vs ferrer -he got 4 games. he appears taller than ferrer and bhambri is only 18. some height matters, imo. i mean olivier rochus would be top 10 if he was rafa’s height. poor roger-vaselin only got 1 game against soda and soda had time for a nap. loved reading the french chat about it.


Kimberly Says:

contador—i have it on right now doing the anti-rain dance, supposed to play at 5 but have to make an appearance at the school pick up and couldnt resist. The canary yellow shorts make the outfit actually.

grendel–i responded to your sharapova on the other thread. Then someone named wheeler says under me that anyone who commits three doubles in a row (sharapova did against woz) should retire from professional tennis.

contador–lucky you can speak french. I am about 60% en espanol. Have to be down here to do business. Btw, what do you think of the whole contador drug scandal? Did he eat bad meat, or cheat?

I hope Rafa wins the tourney but I wouldnt cry to see Ernie win. What’s up with hotsauce? He was pretty mild in his play, not spicy!!!!!


contador Says:

jane-

after roger won FO, i have been different. i don’t cheer against roger but i would have been very happy if roddick had won wimbledon-cheered for delpo to win USO and was very surprised / felt sorry about murray not winning AO.

ernie? wow, was i happy he got a win in over roger. then i had my hopes up he could also get rafa


contador Says:

Kimberly, in general, i imagine most cyclists so some cheating in their careers. meaning they have an autologous pint or two of blood on hand or use some type of colony stimulating factor like epo.

they don’t do steroids. at least the climbers don’t. they are all about 130-150 lbs – no matter if they are over 6 feet tall!

i mean how else do they win a three week tour in the alps, pyranees, in 100 degree heat, stay at the front of a crashing and burning pelaton….it’s not human!

i don’t dare write in french-much. i’d have to be a fool to try with the mocking i’d get! i can read it- they all speak english-especially if you say a couple things in french to them.


Vulcan Says:

Mem,

I am the original Vulcan that began posting here since some time ago – after numerous hiatuses from this site to regain my sanity I like to pop in from time to time and make a futile attempt to stimulate the conversation.

I’m not sure but I get the nebulous impression that you seem to have mistaken me as Federer fan first and a Rafa fan second…which is just the reciprocal of reality.

I like to think that my transformation from a Federer fan to a Rafa fan is one of maturation.
Funny thing…although Nadal doesn’t seem quite as savvy or quick about certain things as Federer does somehow he still strikes me as more mature. I use to say about Federer “Federer is what tennis is all about” – well I think Rafa has stood on the shoulders of giants (one giant in particular being Federer) and has taken it to a whole new level. Anyway, Im a huge fan of both players not just because of their tennis..but because of the paradigm shift Federer started, which Nadal is now expanding on via a smooth transition.

About Federer’s records…I’m not convinced that they are as durable as you seem to think. Nadal’s fitness and hard court dominance are the important variables in that equation me thinks.


contador Says:

oh! i have not been paying attention. i was thinking about team astana and blood doping.

contador had a tiny bit of horse speed?. hm, that’s disappointing.

i hope he’s not using that stuff. that would be sad.

i guess i am ethically soft on some blood altering. if one saves up their own blood for later or has a little injection to stimulate their blood 02 capacity – i am torn. it’s not dangerous to the body. but stimulants and steroids are.


Vulcan Says:

Zola, yeah and we all saw what happened when Nadal surprising said during his Wimbledon interview that he was next turning his focus to the US Open…if his remarks about the YEC are anywhere in the same ball park look out! I still ponder if he might have oooooone more shot at the calendar slam next year.


Kimberly Says:

vulcan, mem, zola—i think rafa has a great shot at a rafa slam. I think the calender slam is in concept doable, in practice difficult. Rafa is the favorite essentially in every tourney. But to go seven consecutive GS without a slip or competitor outplaying one is almost impossible.

AO is a good possibility but like USO Rafa would have to be super focused and really bring it and have a reasonably decent draw. RG pretty much a sure thing. But a uso and wimby. Too much. But it is of course possible.


Kimberly Says:

contador–i saw the article on CNN and thought of you. I am a football, basketball and tennis fan. Don’t really follow the others.


Kimberly Says:

i guess contador is saying the meat he ate was contaminated because they use those steroids for farming cows. Reminded me of Richard Gasquets kiss here in Miami


grendel Says:

jane

I’ve always wondered about Murray’serve. He had a really good one up his sleeve several years ago, and it was natural to think that with time, he’d become a great server. And for a while, his serve was a lot more consistent, but that didn’t last. I remember posting here what Rusedski said – that Murray moves aroind far too much, and if he could cut that movement out, he’d lose a bit of pace, but gain consistency. No idea what he meant, but it’s a thought. And why is Murray’s second serve so weak? Everyone has commented on it, even the stubborn Murray cannot help but be aware of it. So how come such a master of his art – as Murray is – cannot reorganise his second serve? We were talking about second serves last night, and I remember thinking how strong were Djokovic’s against Federer. He’s clearly made an effort. Can’t Murray? I mean, is there some technical problem?

Kimberley, those 3 doublefaults of Sharapova were deeply shocking in the context of that match, and right out of the blue. I think they point to what you suggest is the real problem – an underlying lack of confidence. maybe that will sort itself out with time.

Mem – David only posted during the US Open. You get quite a lot of posters who do that (Paula was another, for instance). I suppose from a Nadal fan’s point of view, he must have seemed eccentric. But from an ordinary tennis fan’s point of view, he was extremely interesting, and was able to convey his intimate knowledge of the game (he was quite a high level player) gracefully in print. I hope he makes another series of appearances, one day.


Kimberly Says:

grendel wasn’t david a rafa fan? I think I talked to him a few times rooting for rafa? or am i thinking of someone else.


mem Says:

Vulcan,

you reminds me of david! again, you seem quite concern about nadal’s future and there’s nothing wrong with it, except that we can’t control what will or will not happen. however, that’s your perrogative!

my point is, nadal and federer are two totally different players with different approaches to the game, but somehow i sense that you are expecting nadal to do things the same as federer for some reason . case in point, your comments “nadal doesn’t seem to be as saavy or quick about things as federer…” i guess your remarks baffled me because i view players in terms of their very own uniqueness, in terms of what individual players brings to the table; needless to say, there is only one roger and only one rafa. i’m sure people don’t watch tennis to see a bunch of clones playing the game.

btw, regarding roger’s records, i meant what he has already achieved is here to stay. i didn’t mean that records can’t be broken; i don’t know what the future holds for him or nadal. anyway, everything is cool!


mem Says:

kimberly,

david did mention that he was a rafa fan, but personally, i thought his constant pessimistic comments surrounding nadal were not indicative of a rafa fan. being objective is one thing, but hammering on negativity at every turn is quite different. i told him that!

sometimes certain fans play both sides too prevent taking any heat from either side or maybe just to impress one side or the other. whatever the reason, david seemed to fit that description!

grendel says david only posts during the usopen; so, i guess that explains his immediate departure.


contador Says:

Kimberly, after you mentioned it, i dropped everything to read up.

uhg… another cycling drama / scandal. i really admire the climbing ability of contador and other climbers. cycling uphill is no picnic. i love going downhill, that’s why i go up. but i grew up loving downhill ski racing. mountain biking or cycling is good cross-training.

cycling is a brutal sport, really. i have crashed over the handlebars and skidded on pavement and it took me weeks to recover. pro cyclists get right back on their bikes.

apparently the amount was miniscule (clenbuterol) and contador has a doctor backing up his tainted meat claim. but it’s a synthetic – not something naturally found. i dunno if the steak alibi will hold up any more than the gasquet cocaine kiss.

armstrong is currently and perpetually accused of doping.

sad. tough to be in pro cycling. as i said, i think most do something in their career. it’s a matter of getting caught.

the second in line for the title – if contador is stripped of his 2010 TDF win, is andy schleck. lol, andy schleck was just kicked out of the tour of spain for all night drinking! how does one party and drink all night, stay upright the next day on skinny little tires and ride 200 miles in 100 degree heat?!

have to change my nick


jane Says:

grendel, as mainly an arm-chair enthusiast I am not one to ask about technioal problems with Murray’s serve. However, in looking at the stats, Murray is 12th for aces and 7th for first serve points won; that suggests his first serve is a weapon. However, being 62nd for actually getting first serves in is clearly a problem!! Murray in 22nd for winning points on his second serve, much higher than Djoko, so his second serve can’t be too much of a liability? He manages to win points. Djoko’s result, as mentioned, might be skewed due to the amount of doubles he was hitting earlier in the year, as his second serve did seem fairly effective at the USO. Overall, Murray’s stats in the serving category are not bad at all – except for that low first serve %. Maybe he needs to clear the net a bit more? I think someone mentioned that once?


Kimmi Says:

its very interesting in kuala lumpur i think. apart from davydenko going out..still some good matches to be looking forward to. Berdych is there, ofcourse the soda pop, ferrer and the golubev guy who is improving day after day.

verdasco can beat himself sometimes with soo many errors. i did not see the match but i am guessing his FH must have been leaking a lot.

rafa is getting a very good practice for the next coming tournaments. definetly he is winning this, the interesting thing is lets see if he will lose a set. i say he wont!


Kimmi Says:

hmm…in tokyo, demantieva beats zvonareva, easy straights sets. dementieva can play well when she in to it, she is been so up and down this year.

azarenka/wozniacki to play on one semi and dementieva vs schiavoni in another. Schiavoni is playing very well this year, improving on hard courts too. I like her but i think dementieva will be tough.

If wozniacki wins this tournament she will be very close to replace serena from number 1. OUCH!


grendel Says:

no, I didn’t mean david only posted during the us open. I have no idea – that was just my guess, because lots of people are like that, they come on for a couple of weeks, post heavily, and then disappear. Sometimes you see them again, though, and I hope that will be the case for david. I would suggest he was a bit of a pessimist, not that he was trying to curry favour.

jane, I thought you might have heard from someone about if there is a technical problem. Of course, Murray is just about the last person, apart perhaps from Federer, who would admit to something like that. In any case, 22nd for winning points on 2nd serve is not good, is it, for a #4? And the stats seem to tell the truth about his first serve. For it’s always been the case that potentially he has a lethal serve. And every now and then he gets it together and – well, it would be interesting to look up and see how his serve went in his wins against Fed and Nadal. If it went well, surely the case is conclusive that he absolutely has to tidy the bloody thing up if he’s serious about winning a big one.


Kimberly Says:

jane grendel, where do you get the stats? I’m curious to see them.


mem Says:

grendel,

i apologize! i misinterpreted your statement about david.


NELTA Says:

Murray’s serve grip is not neutral like Federer, Roddick, Fish or Sampras. With a neutral grip you can hit any serve proficiently(hard/flat, slice, and kick) assuming the other aspects of your serve are technically sound. Murray rotates his racquet slightly towards a forehand grip which maximizes power on the flat serve. The trade off is a little less control. Slice serves can also be hit effectively, but the one weakness with this grip is the angle of the racquet makes it difficult to hit a kick serve which is useful particularly on 2nd serve. Other players that have a grip similar to Murray are Soderling and Chela who also do not have effective kick serves.

Most players on tour have a grip ranging from neutral to a backhand grip. As you rotate towards a backhand grip on the serve you get more spin and control, but less power. The most extreme example I can think of with the backhand grip on the serve would be Edberg.


kimberly Says:

Played an hour and a half in the wozniaki dress no rain….

Contador–impressive you do the extreme sports….I stick to tennis and brutal gym classes mostly high intensity cardio with mild stregnth and yoga pilates on the off days.

I thought the steak alibi reminded me of the cocaine kiss. Apparently th doctor was saying the drug wouldn’t enhance performance because
it would put mass on and slow him down.

Tennis channel has a john isner biograaphy sunday night at 730.

My picks on the womens
Dementieva
Wozniaki

Mens
Nadal
Gulbis
Meltzer
Becker

Malaysia
Not sure who is playing I think a lot of good people left yes.


jane Says:

NELTA, Thanks for the technical analysis; we need those now and again!

Kimberly, you can get stats at the ATP site. On the “blue menu bar” at the top of the page you’ll see “scores & stats”. If you scroll over it you’ll get more options. The bottom one is RICOH ATP MatchFacts. Click on that and it’ll take you to a page that says “Service Game Leaders” (6 categories) and another option (click on to see) “Return of Service Leaders” (4 categories). Players are ranked for the year based on results. It’s interesting to look at now and again as it often confirms hunches. : )


Vulcan Says:

Mem,

Yes, I am very interested to see whether or not Nadal can achieve even more than Federer has. For starters I have been, and for the next year or two, will be, really curious to see if he can achieve the calendar slam (yes pie in the sky as it is). I mean lets face it how often does somebody come along that has a realistic shot at doing it – and we’ve had two in succession – these are exciting times! About my perception that Nadal seeks to emulate Federer…hmmm… I think its pretty clear that Nadal looks up to Federer in many ways…and I actually think there is a fair amount of similarity in their games…they are both exceptionally well rounded all court players for example. They are far more similar in styles then Sampras and Agassi were for example. But yeah about different approaches I agree that they are two very different psyches on the court. As you say it’s all good :)

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