Murray Masterful, Federer Next; Nadal v. Roddick Monday in London
by Sean Randall | November 21st, 2010, 10:20 pm
  • 96 Comments

The opening day matches may not have been edge-of-seat cliffhangers as they were a week ago Saturday in Paris, but the outcomes still matter. On day one of the ATP London finals, Andy Murray posted a very impressive win over Robin Soderling 6-2, 6-4, while Roger Federer flew by David Ferrer 6-1, 6-4.

“I think tactically it was a great match,” said Murray who snapped a two-match losing streak to the Swede who excels indoors. “I think I played very smart tennis today. Obviously it was getting tough in the second set [with] a lot of long rallies. I was on the defensive quite a lot, [but I] stuck to my tactics well and managed to come through.”

I gave Soderling the edge going into this one, but full credit to Murray who was by far the better player on this day despite wearing that Ivan Lendl diamond shirt! Maybe this will be the year he gets it done!

For Soderling, who looked a bit out of it at times, he’ll have to regroup against Ferrer on Tuesday if he still harbors hopes to make the semifinals. Losing in straight sets in the round robin is an absoulte killer especially when you are looking up at Federer and Murray.

“It was tough today,” said Soderling. “I was hitting the ball pretty well, but in the beginning I wasn’t there. He played better than me today.

“He served really well. Maybe that’s the only thing I was a little bit surprised with. He was putting a lot of first serves in. He was defending really well. Every time I came to the net, he came up with a really good shot.”

Well, Robin, they way I saw it every time you hit a volley it wound up in the net!

In the second match, Federer kept his head-to-head edge over Ferrer perfect by improving it to a gaudy 11-0 against the Spaniard.

“I thought it was a tough match,” Fed said. “Looking at the score line, it doesn’t reflect how tough it was. There were many close games, especially in the second set. Possibly the first set could have gone faster, too.

“All in all, I’m really happy the way I was able to get out of the first match here, starting off with a feisty Top 10 player is never easy. It’s sort of a first round, that’s why I’m really pleased with tonight’s performance.”

Federer did struggle near the end, and had to extricate himself from a 0-40 hole the final game to get win the match. But a wins a win and coming up is the big showdown between Federer and Murray on Tuesday afternoon I believe.

Before then we have a couple more good matches tomorrow. First it’s Novak Djokovic against Tomas Berdych. The Serb has won three of four with his only loss to TOmas coming at the Wimbledon semifinals back in July. But times have changed.

The Czech who playing so well during that French-Wimbledon stretch, has essentially checked-out since.

Djokovic, meanwhile, has found his form and is playing some of the best, most confident tennis of his career. I like Novak here.

In the marquee match, World No. 1 Rafael Nadal debuts against the popular Andy Roddick. After going winless in London a year ago, Nadal’s out to make amends this week and on the slower courts I think he’ll get it done against Roddick.

Nadal leads Roddick 5-3 though Roddick did win their most recent battle in three sets in Miami this spring. So Rafa’s got a lot to play for in this one.

Plus, Rafa has won all four Majors, the Davis Cup and the Olympic Gold, but has never won the year-end Finals title.

If Rafa really gives Roddick a ride, watch out.

Matches again are on live at 9am and3pm ET live on the Tennis Channel.

MONDAY LONDON SCHEDULE

CENTRE COURT Start At 12:15 PM
[3] M Bhupathi (IND) / M Mirnyi (BLR) vs [5] L Kubot (POL) / O Marach (AUT)
Not Before 2:00 PM
[3] N Djokovic (SRB) vs [6] T Berdych (CZE)
Start At 6:15 PM
[2] D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) vs [7] W Moodie (RSA) / D Norman (BEL)
Not Before 8:00 PM
[1] R Nadal (ESP) vs [8] A Roddick (USA)


Also Check Out:
Roddick Withdraws From London ATP Tennis Finals
London Masters Groupings Released: Federer Tough, Nadal Easy?
ATP Injuries Mount: Juan Martin Del Potro Withdraws From Paris
Is Novak Djokovic Ready for a ATP Finals Repeat?
Watch Andy Roddick Destroy His Tennis Racquet [Video]

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96 Comments for Murray Masterful, Federer Next; Nadal v. Roddick Monday in London

Von Says:

It seems as though Federer and Murray are sending a message to those in their group.

I thought the Tennis Channel would have broadcasted the singles matches today, instead they’ve stuck to the same agenda as in prior years, only broadcasting doubles.

Anyway, I’m happy that the Bryans won their first match which should give them the fuel necessary to propel them onto the SF. At least the US is being represented by Roddick and the Bryans. I hope Roddick will do well vs. Nadal, but that’s more like wishful thinking, than what will actually happen.


dari Says:

Von, I’m not sure where you live, but my east coast tennis channel played singles and doubles with evening encore of both. Doubles comes on before singles so far.
A little less than THRILLING matches today, but my guy came thru in straight so I am happy. I will need to see improvement from roger, though.
Hopefully, the matches will be more competitive tomorrow! Wouldn’t it be odd if that were the case when everyone thought group A was fluffy compared to B?


steve-o Says:

Roddick has been in a bit of a slump lately. Nadal should cruise.

It would be nice if Roddick could win a match during this tournament, though.


Thomas Says:

@steve-o
roddick will beat berydch and possibly djokovic. He has a punchers chance against nadal.


TD (Tam) Says:

Von Says: “At least the US is being represented by Roddick and the Bryans. I hope Roddick will do well vs. Nadal, but that’s more like wishful thinking, than what will actually happen.”

Good evening Von, long time no see! as usual I agree 100% with you here. I’d love for Roddick to win but think Nadal will be anxious to get one over on Andy and to make up for his lackluster performance last year. I hope it’s a good match either way I was yawning through Murray and Federer’s matches today…


steve-o Says:

@Thomas: One can always hope. If Roddick’s to have any chance at all, his serve has got to be firing.

Berdych is something of a bully on court. He’ll only play his best if he senses hesitation from his opponent. Otherwise he just caves.

If he plays a subpar Roddick, he might just be inspired to start smacking winners left and right.


jane Says:

Roddick always has a puncher’s chance in that he’s a very strong competitor; he’s qualified for this event 8 years in a row now. He was in the semis at Basel and then the quarters at Paris; and his loss to Soda there was in 2 close sets, and note Soda went on to win the event. In fact his losses at Basel and Paris BOTH were to the eventual champions of the tournaments. I wouldn’t be quick to count Roddick out against Nole or Berdych, or even Rafa, who Andy beat once already this year.


Von Says:

TD(Tam): How are you? Gosh, it’s been so long since you’ve posted. I was wondering if I’ll ever see you posting again. Thanks for coming back here and giving me some support — it’s appreciated.

Yes, Nadal wants this badly, but I hope our Andy can do some damage. We can only hope.

Take care my friend, and please post more often.


Von Says:

dari: Than ks for the info and am glad your guy won.

I live on the West Coast of Florida and none of the singles matches were broadcasted. iIthought I’d have seen them this evening on the encore broadcast, but all I saw was the doubles match again, between the Bryans and Melzer/Petz. Hopefully, I’ll be lucky to see roddick’s match tomorrow.


Benjamin Roberts Says:

as i posted on the other blog. super performances from fed and murray. some of the shot-making from fed was out of this world. their match on tuesday has all the makings of a classic.


NELTA Says:

I’m not sure how long this has been on the ATP web site, but I just noticed a new page called the FedEx ATP Reliability Index. It basically measures a player’s winning percentage against top ten opponents under various conditions like indoor/outdoor/slams/finals/tiebreakers etc.

http://www.atpworldtour.com/Reliability-Zone/Reliability-Zone-Landing.aspx


queen Says:

Jane, Roddick did beat Nadal but that was at the very beggining of the season which was rather mediocre for Rafa. Now it’s a whole different story and he showed throughout the season what he can do. Besides, Andy R can get very negative on the court, which in my opinion, hurts his game. And that is why he is going to lose today. Vamos Rafa!


stu Says:

thanks NELTA, thats a really cool link!


dari Says:

Glad you posted that NELTA, I saw it on the webaite. But didnt have the mind to post it here!
I imagine lots of ppl will like this info.
Berdy-djoko on, a really nice point from Djoko to show defense, and now a couple set points!


Naderer Says:

Murray and Federer will play 2x in this tournament…


the_mind_reels Says:

The Nadal-Roddick match from earlier this year in Miami is more or less a microcosm of what happens when different styles are employed against Nadal:

First set: Roddick was rolling a lot of his shots and not attacking. Nadal dictated play and ate up anything short. Nadal won the set without too much trouble.

Second and third sets: Roddick was serving more intelligently, coming in behind his serve when appropriate, and hitting bigger groundstrokes off both wings, actually generating winners. He started to dictate play and attack and ended up winning both of those sets.

If you look at guys who’ve had success against Nadal, it’s always been by employing an attacking game plan. Serve big and hit big off the ground. Consistency is the x factor, though — most guys can’t keep it up long enough to shut down Nadal, and often times his defense is too much.

Hopefully, it’ll be a good match and we can see where both players’ games stand.


jane Says:

Yay Nole, and phew – Berdy was making it “interesting” at the end there. I think it was a “good” not great match from Nole. He had more winners than errors, always good. But at the net he lost more points that won them, yet I can’t help thinking it’s nice to see him trying it, risking it; that’s the only way he can really develop. Berd has definitely reverted back to a sort of negativity at times, and a few too many errors from him today also.


jane Says:

Yes, NELTA thanks; an interesting link. Also interesting to look at their results versus top ten players this year versus their entire careers, and also on indoor versus other surfaces. Nole has had a few losses against top tenners this year: Roddick, Rafa and Fed come to mind.

queen, yes Rafa’s results improved since Miami, but he’s never been at his best on indoor hard so like I said, I’d give Roddick a shot. Rafa’s the fave given his H2H and ranking but you never know. Not much separates the guys in the top ten, and anything can happen. So far the matches have gone by rank but that will likely change at some point.


Nina Says:

Good, not great, solid match from Novak. He didn’t need to do much else. Berdych in poor form, losing many points on his serve. He will be the whipping boy in this group. Got the feeling that he doesn’t quite deserve to be here.
Maradona was in the stands clapping for Nole in his box. It was surprising to say the least!
His next match will be the real test, this was just a warm up. Anxious to see Nadal vs. Roddick.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Congrats to Nole, he got his bird


jane Says:

Nina, I agree with your points. Nole doesn’t have great records against either Roddick or Rafa; if he plays like that against either, I am not too keen on his chances. He has to lift it up a notch.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Who does Nole and Fed play next?

Looks like the surface bodes well for Rafa’s game, not like Paris.

Prevent defense called;

Yes Rafa plays well on all surfaces…but Rafa has said his preferred surface is a slower one.


Duro Says:

Nina, Jane, wrong assessment.


jane Says:

Skeezer, I believe Fed plays Murray (?), i.e., the two winners play each other. So Nole will play the winner of Roddick v. Rafa, obviously a tough one for Nole either way you look at it.

Duro, do tell. What’s yours? First set was better than the second.


van orten Says:

“most guys can’t keep it up long enough to shut down Nadal, and often times his defense is too much”.

exactly. look at wimby this year had 3-4 very tough matches in there..he got through but it could have gone either way. unlike fed who came short in plenty of close maches this year.
that makes it interesting all the time you never know when a streak starts or ends


van orten Says:

wimby this year ..nadal had 3-4 tough matches…


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Just saw the Djoker scores. Seems so far, everyone is playing to form. Although Soderling may be ranked 4, I don’t think any fans, other than Bjorn Borg, consider him legit at the level of Murray. Will be interesting to see what Rafa does, but right now it looks like we will enter 2011 as we entered 2010* and 2009…

*minus the DelPo hope


Polo Says:

Berdych is fading…I don’t see a future better than he had this year. He does not have the mental capacity to sustain play in a high intensity level. Nadal has it. Federer had it but now teeters up and down that line.


dari Says:

Vagabond, that’s just the thing at wtf right now. Besides the Murray-sod match, the scores aren’t telling the real story. Sure, ferrer served beans yesterday, but the rallies were long and fed was in some tight spots in the second set. He had a few nice points, butwas actually quite sloppy with WILD forehands.
Nole played “fine” today, to say he is moving well is an obvious understatement, but its pretty clear berdych is not ready to win any matches. He should not be used as a measure at this point. Even I coulda beat berdych 6-3 6-3 (*wish*)!

I will be rooting for Andy R this evening for the upset, or at the least, give us three sets! This match should be the start of things heating up. Murray and roger tomorrow morning!
For now, go Roddick!


madmax Says:

duro,

where’s ollyk these days?

Dari, I think it’s an afternoon match tomorrow for fed and murray – will be very interesting to see how each of them start on centre court – surely fed must know that murray is going to be aggressive from the get go – and today will be organising a “cunning” plan to outplay him tomorrow!

C’mon Roger!


dari Says:

Max, I’m the US, so its BREAKFAST with Rog and muzza!


dari Says:

Roddick coming out strong. Way to go!


dari Says:

What a pickup job from roddick!
Rafa hitting forehands out more than I remember…


mrmilbury Says:

Serve and volley from Roddick. First or second serve. He don’t like to play a baseline match today.
Very risky. But Rafa has a lot of problems width his forehand tonight.


steve-o Says:

Roddick is playing decent, but not great. He is winning because Nadal isn’t playing great either.


steve-o Says:

Also Roddick is going for it on the forehand whenever he gets a chance.


steve-o Says:

Showing the stats for the first set. Nadal has more winners but also more UE than Roddick. It’s usually the reverse.


margot Says:

First set to Andy! Well played. I expect Rafa to pick his game up in the second and Andy must improve his first serve %, it dropped a bit in the last couple of games, if he’s to win.


steve-o Says:

Go Roddick!


Kimberly Says:

ahhhhhh just came home and saw the score, not what i had hoped to see. Going to turn on TV and check this action out, for better or worse.

Vamos Rafa.


Naderer Says:

Roddick is a good front runner. Nadal better not grace him with a break


margot Says:

Wow! Andy playing so aggressively beats Rafa in a baseline rally and gets a break, wow again!


Juan Says:

not over yet!


i am it Says:

Looks like it’s Roddick’s night, running away with a set and break up, but sadly he’s gifted the break back with a DF ! A-Rod should still be able to win at the end.

This is not the same Nadal that I saw at the USO.

That his mindset alone would fetch WTF or any big trophy is a myth, imo. He always worked for his earlier goals before he achieved them, and he has barely begun for this one. I’d be surprised if he is able to do this year.


Fot Says:

Von, tennis channel in my area broadcast all the matches (doubles and singles).
I’m now watching the 2nd set of the Nadal/Roddick match. Seems like this is a very competitive 2nd set.. I think Roddick will have to win it in 2 sets because if it goes 3 sets, I think Nadal may have the upper hand.


steve-o Says:

Nadal’s missing so many forehands because he isn’t generating the immense spin that he needs to make it a safe shot. His shots are less powerful than usual.


Sean Randall Says:

Good performance from Andy who’s trying everything on Rafa, and for the most part it’s working (or was).

Roddick had the eearly break in the second but you almost feel like Rafa finaly has his grasp back on the match.


Juan Says:

Interesting to see tie breaker


dari Says:

Uh oh! Tie breaker! Andy better just take it now.


Juan Says:

Come on Rafa


jane Says:

Ah, just checked scores! Not surprised to see Roddick doing well on this surface. But is Rafa’s serve not working or what; just looked at stats and for Rafa his 1st serves are low & 4 doubles?

Anyhow I knew Roddick had a good shot at this win, regardless.

Have to go to class soon, arrrrgh. Mini break to Rafa now.


dari Says:

Well, got my wish- 3 setter. Let’s go Andy!


jane Says:

Should be a barn-burner of a third set. I can catch about 10 more minutes only. Bummer :(


Kimmi Says:

rafa fought back to win the second set.

roddick could not find big serves in the tie break when he had a mini break, that was very crucial..too bad!


jane Says:

Roddick is not one to “go away,” generally speaking; he’s a tough competitor, much like Rafa. Even though typically / often I’d expect Rafa to win after taking a second set tiebreak, I’m not so sure that’s the case versus Andy.


margot Says:

One set each and the best match so far!


Daniel Says:

Roddick’s last 4 service Gales were 40-0 but as Kimmi said he couldn’t fins a first serve hem he had 3-2.


jane Says:

I wish I could watch the rest. (Maybe a writing exercise is in order.) Oh well, enjoy all. :) Nice to see a close exciting match is happening here.


steve-o Says:

I agree, I don’t think Roddick will give up. But the odds have shifted to Nadal.


Kimmi Says:

ah roddick, his chances came and went.

this is over now i am fraid. unless….


Kimmi Says:

ok, never heard roddick grunting this loud..must be a nadal effect!


i am it Says:

Rafa’s turned it around a bit and Roddick’s helped him in the effort.
Yes, Kimmi, A-Roddick missed his chances today. Feel sad for him.


Kimmi Says:

one more game for rafa


Kimmi Says:

my stream just died…oh well, this is over anyways.


Kimmi Says:

congrats rafa. too bad for roddick. good to see he gave a good fight. Good luck to him in his next matches.

Still has a chance (roddick), winning a set will help him in the group standing.


dari Says:

As we all know, Rafa can fight through anything, including a set and break down.
Good of Andy to get a set, and show some aggressive play. He has got to hit deeper and flatter, though, there were so many times i was sure he would get the winner even in a loooong rally, but the shots never quite penetrated the court. Of course nadal is a great defender, but not enough of andy’s shots were heavy/deep. I don’t doubt it has at least a little to do with the court, because I noticed it with Rafa to a lesser degree.
Anyway, best match so far!

Kyle manogue, that’s who that is! It was bothering me all match wondering who they were putting on the camera so often.

Roger, beat Mr. Muzza tomorrow!


margot Says:

Well played both! A good fight and the most competitive match so far!
So the “big 4″ come through, can now call Andy no 4 if only for the mo. cos that win gives him, I think, a whole 180 points over Sod -wow!
Interesting tournament though, top 8 only playing each other and no-one having to worry about those dangerous little minnows that can do so much damage lurking in the muddy waters of the early rounds…..


Kimberly Says:

After a few weeks of no Rafa forgot the racing heart feeling but boy was it back. I promised myself I wouldnt stress about this tournament but apparently I am a terrible liar. But my wish to Von on the other thread came true, finally a great match.

But as much as I love Rafa, I need to send him a serious question mark on what the pink and gray outfit was about?

I missed the first set but thought it was a pretty well played match from what I saw. Now can we go back to the black and yellow outfit please?


Skeezerweezer Says:

Congrats to Rafa :)

Pink?


Kimmi Says:

I actually like this outfit kimberly. nadal looks good in mixing crazy colours for some reason..

this look does not suit federer for example…not at all…i like his red/orange shirt too.

I think the next match will be Nadal vs djoko..hoping for a great match. Roddick should be gunning to beat berdych to improve his chances.


Kimmi Says:

muzza vs federer should be a cracker. federer does not want to lose to muzz 3 times in a row.

Hope we get a competative three setter.


dari Says:

DARK FUSCHIA!
and it looked like he went into the closet and said “ok grey shorts Orange headband, fuschia shirt, grey shoes, black socks. I’m good, let’s go!” And looked good in it!
I try so hard to paint the full picture that i dislike Rafa, but how can you not like a guy who fights back like he does?
I bet its nice for Rafa fans to see their boy back, shoulder in-tact! ;)


Fot Says:

Kimmi – I don’t want a competitative 3-setter. lol! I want Roger to win it in 2 easy sets, if possible! lol!


i am it Says:

In the first set and first couple of games of the 2nd set, Rafa looked lifeless. Once he took the break back in the 2nd set, he never trailed except in the tie, which A-Rod played poorly. By the mid way through the 3rd set, Rafa looked like he was unbeatable. So had Roddick until the middle of the 2nd set when he relinquished his break lead. It must be more hurtful to see your fav. lose a match he should have won. On the other hand, Rafa’s fans have obvious reasons to feel relieved for this win.
Congrats to Rafa for winning and to Roddick for playing a good match.


Kimmi Says:

Fot – i know what u mean. i like them both but fed is my number one fave..hope he wins too.

I feel a three setter will help the loser when they are counting how many games one wins.


dimwitted recluse Says:

well, I thought that was a terrific match, by far the best, and highly enjoyable. I’ve always thought Roddick was a great retriever, and he showed it tonight. The difference between him and Nadal here is not so much, Roddick can get back anything Nadal can – but Nadal can impart that little bit of magic from an improbable position to finish off the rally.
‘Nother thing – Roddick did quite a bit of serve and volley, and it paid off. S and V just is not dead – after all, this is not one of Roddick’s strengths (except in the sense that his exceptional serve, including second, sets up the possibility for the subsequent volley a little easier than is normal) – so I hope players are watching and note that Nadal is potentially vulnerable in this respect. Not very, perhaps, but it’s definitely something to think about.

In about middle of the 3rd, Nadal did a body serve which tied Roddick up completely. Which begs the obvious question, why aren’t these serves done more often? clearly you need the element of surprise, but you can retain that and do more than one in a match. So you can’t help wondering: are they deliberate or a bit fluky?

Thought game Roddick was broken back in in 2nd set was due more to poor play on his part than anything special from Nadal – lapse in concentration? He’d won the first set, broken Nadal – he must have been feeling pretty good. Danger time, danger time!

Pat Cash was in commentary box at beginning, and later the camera panned in on him sitting next to Kylie Minogue – yes, it was her, dari. Petchey instantly remarked in a low voice:”Kylie’s evening has just taken a downturn”. Sometimes next to Miss Minogue (never my cup of tea, but I daresay I wouldn’t have been hers either)but mysteriously not always was Rose Byrne, even easier on the eye than she was in that rather good lawyer drama (with Glenn Close) “Damages”. For some reason, the camera didn’t linger long on her, whilst it positively ogled Kylie. Poor judgement.
Lovely intervention from Peter Fleming. This was undoubtedly an exciting match, and some time in the 3rd, before the break, the camera caught this plump, middle-aged to elderly woman looking deeply alarmed, her fingers actually juddering uncontrollably. “It’s going to be alright,” Fleming said soothingly. And so it was. At the end, the camera caught this lady again, beaming happily.

So all 8 have played, and I put them in this order of merit: Murray, Djokovic, Nadal, Roddick, Federer, Ferrer, Berdych. We’re at the end of the beginning or the beginning of the middle, and in horse racing terms, Nadal is looking ominously well placed, a nice easy smooth third, looking to overtake on the straight. Personally, I am very ignorant of Nadal’s play, just haven’t watched all that much, but like everyone, I thought he was pretty rusty, I mean that was obvious. What was fascinating to me was to observe, actually in live motion so to speak, the real Nadal struggling to emerge from the shell which 5 weeks absence has imposed upon his game, a bit like a butterfly emerging from the chrysalis. You could see it gradually happening, but the process is by no means complete. The fascination, I think, resides in seeing a great sportsman at the peak of his career using his will to excavate, as it were, the power and grace which are somewhere his to command. Because the will is limited – in short, you can’t rush these things – and in a sense, the player himself, Nadal, has no idea just what he is capable of at any given moment – very frustrating, I imagine. I wonder if he’ll have it sorted by the weekend.


Mindy Says:

Kimberly,

It’s best that you missed the first set. If you were stressed watching it after that, you would have freaked out from the beginning. Rafa didn’t start out well at all. His serve wasn’t working and the low stats for the first set pretty much tell it all. I don’t have them at my fingertips, but I think he was barely serving 50% of first serves and only winning about 45% of his second serves. He looked rusty and his timing was off on his forehand.

What gets Rafa through is that fierce will and fighting spirit. He simply doesn’t give up. He started playing much better in the second set when he got the break back. That seemed to fire him up. It was quite a tense battle. In the tiebreak there were a bunch of breaks back and forth and then Rafa went up 6-3 and finished it off at 6-5. He kept hitting harder and harder and his shots started penetrating. I could hear Roddick grunting as he returned some of Rafa’s shots.

Rafa wears players out. You could see him start imposing himself in that third set. Once he got that break, I thought that was it. It was the kind of gritty win that we have come to expect from Rafa, where he digs it out even when he is not at his best.

I was very nervous during the match. I thought that I would be calm, but that will never happen when I am watching Rafa. What I like here is that Rafa got better as the match went on. He is not at his best, but I like his chances to do well.

When he started ripping those crosscourt backhands, then I knew he was feeling it. He’s still a bit off on the timing, but that should keep improving. He also served much better as the match went on.

Roddick fought valiantly and gave it everything, as he always does. He made Rafa work for the victory.

Rafa got the win the hard way, but he sometimes seem to be at his best when he has to come from behind.


dimwitted recluse Says:

forgot Soderling – in between Federer and Ferrer imo.


Kimberly Says:

Mindy–I am glad Nadal also got the winless 2009 monkey off his back. Roddick was a tough opening match, I had been hoping for Berdych to be honest!

Now maybe he can play with less pressure! During the match I was yelling that the WTF should alternate surfaces. Make it on Clay! Rafa would likely win all 3 round robins plus the final and semi.

the second set after Rafa got the break back was very well played and competitive by both,yes? When Rafa won it one had the feeling he would go to the next level in the third but it was still tight. Rafa’s matches are never good for my health.


bibi Says:

“So all 8 have played, and I put them in this order of merit: Murray, Djokovic, Nadal, Roddick, Federer, Ferrer, Berdych.”

You’ve omitted Soderling.

BTW, good post. I concur in everything.

Nadal is a notorious rhythm player who needs matches to get into the groove. Deeply rusty in his 2 strenghts (FH and serve), he had to draw on his BH to keep him afloat in the first set. But even then the recovery started to happen, the struggle through metamorphosis intensified and he gradually got reacquainted with his strenghts.

There seem to be some niggles in his left ankle, though, he was wincing and flexing it a few times.

Kylie Minogue was in Nadal’s box together with her 10 years younger bf, Spanish model Andres Velencoso Segura.


jane Says:

Wow, it looks like it was a close finale. Congrats to Rafa. When I left, it was 2 all third set and I couldn’t pick a winner at that point (the tiebreak had been so close), but I missed the first set and caught only the last bit of the second so I didn’t have a strong enough sense of the momentum shift and building form of Rafa that some of you had described. That point by Mindy about “ripping the crosscourt backhands” being a good sign for Rafa strikes me as true. When he makes those unbelievable gets it’s always a sign he’s in form or returning to it anyhow.


dimwitted recluse Says:

Ah, I was wondering who that blonde woman was – not that I’m any the wiser, now. I’m sure Rose Byrn was sometimes with Kylie. She was definitely there, anyway, looking very animated and happy.


dari Says:

Dimwitted, so that was rose Byrne, huh?!I thought so, but then was sure I only had her on my brain from a movie I saw the other week. And why on earth would I ASSUME that was rose byrne? again tennis match of all places!
So if kylie was with rose byrne and pat cash, she must have been doing some box hopping, other wise, we have the nadal box full of cash, uncle toni, Charlie moya, Spanish model and rose Byrne. Weird.


Nina Says:

@dari… That Spanish model is Moya’s wife. :)
Kylie was sitting next to his boyfriend, Spanish super model Andres Velencoso (a much nicer view for us girl fans). So more than a box full of cash, I’d say a box full of beauty, lol.

I saw Nadal’s match and I was far from impressed. Rafa really played bad in the first set completely handing the first few games to Roddick, even though Andy was playing really well, specially his S&V.

But as usually happens with a mental giant like Nadal, Roddick only needed to double-fault to be broken in the second set to let Rafa turn things around.

Roddick had the match in his hands but he fooled around just for one game and then he lost the whole match (he also had two mini breaks in the tiebreak but then couldn’t serve an ace if his life depended on it). I knew from that point on that he would lose the match because I know how Rafa plays, pumping himself up steadily and progressively getting more self-confident. Self-confident Rafa is always bad news.

If Rafa had played like this against Nole, he would have lost for sure. I think Rafa will play much better next time, specially because he has to play Novak already on Wednesday. It will be interesting. I’m having my hopes up for Nole, He’s playing much better than Rafa right now. But with these two you never know. They’re always so intense when playing each other.


dari Says:

Nina, meant PAT cash. By Spanish model I meant the male one! The wording on that was off!


dari Says:

And moya isn’t married, that kind of ladies man isnt tied down so easily ;)


bibi Says:

Another blonde celeb in the audience was frequently shown and captioned – January Jones (actress playing Don Draper’s wife Betty in Mad Men).

A Brit journo tweeted he saw her after the match waiting for Nadal (to take a photo with him, apparently) like some regular fan.

Ah, those cougars.


Kimmi Says:

the big match tomorrow is muzz and federer. surprisingly they have scheduled them in the day session…weird!


Kimmi Says:

schedule for wednesday is out. roddick vs berdy day session. Djoko vs rafa night session. Sounds good. bring it on.


Dez Says:

Dari, it’s not unusual for Rose to attend a tennis match. She must genuinely enjoy it: http://www.life.com/image/82706437


Mindy Says:

Kimberly,

I recorded Rafa’s match and went back and watched it again, mostly the second and third sets. It seemed that Rafa started to play more aggressive in that tiebreak. That was when I noticed he started ripping a few backhand winners and his serving was greatly improved. That set him up nicely to start dictating more in the third set.

I give Roddick a lot of credit. He played some great tennis. In that first set, he actually was outplaying Rafa from the baseline. He hung in there, but was having a tough time with Rafa’s deep and penetrating groundstrokes in that third set. Rafa was more aggressive and his shot selection seemed to improve. It all came together, also his timing and rhythm are still off a bit.

This is a tough format, because a player doesn’t have the luxury of playing himself into form. That’s why I didn’t want to make any predictions until I saw Rafa. It was what I expected. It seemed like he was kind of moving his ankle around a bit, but I don’t think it is anything that should be a real problem. He just had to work the rust off his game and this tough three setter was just what he needed to get the feel of the court, his shots and his game going. This will give him some real confidence going forward in this tournament. He will need to up the level of play against Nole on Wednesday. That’s a big one, but now that he has won his first match, he is in a good place. I like his chances here to get to at least the semis and then we will see from there.

Jane,

I always look for that crosscourt backhand. I know that when Rafa starts cracking that shot, he is feeling confident. He was hitting it so much more in that third set. He hasn’t quite got it firing with the accuracy and consistency I like to see, but considering this was his first match after a layoff, I am just pleased to see him going for that shot and getting winners. His forehand was blasting away with so much more depth and penetration in that third set.

Rafa seems to live for these kinds of matches, but it makes me a nervous wreck!

Our two guys will be going at it on Wednesday, and it should be a great match!


Kimberly Says:

MIndy-just saw your comments. I think a win over a quality hardcourt player like Roddick with a huge serve should do wonders for his confidence. You can tell from his post match commments how very pleased he was. I said in the other threat, I thought Roddicks comments were extremely gracious considering that is was a close loss. He said that it was really fun and a great atmosphere etc. Novak is tougher on the ground but not really a serving danger like Roddick so we shall see. Rafa had so many wasted break opportunities during the USO final that hopefully he does better on break point conversions. That should be the key. And serving well by Rafa of course.


andrea Says:

nice fed win over murray, but doesn’t sound like murray was at his best.


Nina Says:

@dari

Oops, my fault! I read that too quickly!


Swiss Maestro Says:

I think half of rafa’s fan base is either cougars or teen-girls.

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