Nadal, Djokovic Sweeten Final Four; Play Murray, Federer Saturday in London SFs
by Sean Randall | November 26th, 2010
  • 505 Comments

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic routinely took care of business Friday to land semifinal berths at the London ATP Finals. Nadal won early and after a tough, contentious first set, ripped through Tomas Berdych 7-6(3), 6-1 to secure his spot. Djokovic, who had been troubled by Andy Roddick the last few years, had no problems with the American this time around in a 6-2, 6-3 victory.

Said Djokovic, “I knew I had to be kind of in a control of the rallies, and I did that. I needed to get a lot of returns back. I did that, as well. I was using the forehands quite well. So [I am] just happy with the overall performance. It’s never easy. You got to make these shots. You’ve got to get his serves back in the court and try to win the rallies.”

Djokovic had battled an eye problem against Nadal on Wednesday. Today, the Serb was in fine form and perfect health against Roddick who looked like a guy ready to call it a season.

So the final four is set with a lip-smacking dream line-up of Rafael Nadal v. Andy Murray at 9am ET and then Roger Federer v. Novak Djokovic at 3pm ET. On to my picks.

Rafael Nadal v. Andy Murray
It’s been quite a turnaround week for Rafael Nadal. A year ago he was winless in round-robin play, this year perfect. After dropping his opening set of the tournament to Andy Roddick (the only three set match thus far!), Nadal’s been sharp and effective during his six set win streak.

Murray started out his home event with a banger of a win over Robin Soderling, then faltered against Federer before regaining his form against David Ferrer. So he, too, appears to be in form.

However, after three matches based on play this week alone, you have to give the edge to Nadal over Murray. Rafa also leads their head-to-head 8-4 but on hardcourts it is even at 4-all. And Murray is the only guy to score a win over Nadal at a 2010 Slam (albeit a retirement at the Australian Open). But, like Federer, Nadal is a perfect 2-0 against Murray in London with both wins coming at Wimbledon. So Nadal gets even more checkmarks. And even Murray seems to agree.

“He’s obviously the best player in the world,” Murray said of Nadal. “I’ve watched his matches here. He’s been playing unbelievably well. You know, I don’t seem to beat those guys in the big matches. So, you know, I’m going to have to play my best tennis against him to win. I need to do it in a big match, in the semis. I have to see whether I can do that or not.”

When asked if he was confident against Rafa, he said, “No, not really. But I’ll try and win against him.”

That doesn’t sound like the attitude you need going in to beat Rafa, does it?

That said, I’m sure Murray is playing a little possum here and trying to lower the expectation, but I’m going to give him at least a set tomorrow. Still, in what I’ll call a 50/50 match I’ll pick Rafa in three…

Roger Federer v. Novak Djokovic
Of the remaining final foursome Federer’s looked the best. He’s the only player left who hasn’t lost a set and he’s breezed in his matches posting cushy wins over Ferrer, Murray and Soderling.

“So far it’s been good, you know,” said Federer. “I won against top-10 players in straight sets. That’s going to make me feel obviously awfully good for the weekend. But I hope I can keep it up. Tournament’s not over yet. This is really when it starts for me.”

“This is when it starts”? Now that’s the attitude.

When his contact lenses were working properly, Djokovic was sound in impressive wins over Berdych and today Roddick. But I really would have liked to have seen (pun intended) more of Djokovic against Nadal. So I’m not totally convinced of his level of play based on those two wins.

Head-to-head, Federer leads 12-6 and he’s held match points against Novak in their last four meetings, losing only that US Open semifinal. Since that match, Fed’s won both indoor encounters at Shanghai and Basel and I think he’s playing better here this week than he was in those events.

Before the event, I had Federer beating Novak in the final so i’ll stick with that and pick the Swiss here to win in straight sets.

And if both predictions come correct, you all know what that means…

Tennis Channel has live coverage and ESPN2 will also air the matches on tape, I believe.


Also Check Out:
ATP Stars Federer, Djokovic, Murray Get Dressed Up For The London Red Carpet [Video]
Andy Murray Has Withdrawn From The London Finals
Roddick Withdraws From London ATP Tennis Finals
Rafael Nadal Withdraws From Paris, London ATP Finals
In Preparation For His London Title Defense, Novak Djokovic Took A Cable Car Ride [Video]

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505 Comments for Nadal, Djokovic Sweeten Final Four; Play Murray, Federer Saturday in London SFs

Gannu Says:

Sean why Sean why???? Why did u jinx feddy bear ;-)
I hope feddy win this london masters.. it would be awesome to start and end strongly the year.. will give him that much needed confidenc eto win Gslams again next year..

Just appalled by the defeatist attitude of Murray.. u anyways dont win even if you believe you can against rafa… and if you have this attitude then better go home.. surprised that the british media who are nothing less than vultures ready to pounce upon thier prey have done this to Murray…Murray i feel is solely their victim…. he does have the potential to win gslams but some how he is unable to carry the weight of their expectations…Rafa is just not going to give up.. me thinks he wants this tournament badly!!! Come on Murray i am supporting you (only in this match)…;-)

Whatever might be the case.. hope our man wins.. feddy bear these days is very unpredictable.. hope he can continue the current leevl of play for two more matches…His backhand this entire tournment has been very very consistent and he is slicing it extremely well.. unforced errors are also in check.. so lets see


Gannu Says:

Or on second thoughts is it some game theory by Murray…Most of the times when he has said i am confident i can beat them in big matches he has lost.. perhaps this time around he is sending some signal already that he is weak.. which can make his opponents over confident????

hmm.. interesting.. dont know what is going on Muzza’s head now!


skeezerweezer Says:

“I’ve watched his matches here. He’s been playing unbelievably well. You know, I don’t seem to beat those guys in the big matches. So, you know, I’m going to have to play my best tennis against him to win. I need to do it in a big match, in the semis. I have to see whether I can do that or not.”

Good stuff Andy. a little bit of a Rafa type quote? “Play my best” the “most difficult match” and “impossible”? It’s all about playing Possum.

If Murray is talking smart, he is playing the same mind games here. Rafa always quotes, which is getting old on Rafa’s part, saying it is “difficult” and “impossible” against EVERYBODY. A little “touche” in action in my imo from Murray. Nice to see that coming from him.

Prediction;

Can’t say Murray will win but totally surprised if he doesn’t lay it all out for the home crowd and this being a very entertaining match. This is his moment to not hold anything back, after this it is holidays and rest before AO, so Murray, bring it! Murray has proven to have the style to beat the LionHeart, but Murray has to prove he has the heart of the Lion. Most interesting match up so far…..

What has Rafa have to do to win? Oh it so easy for him, his style. He just needs to play steady with the grinding topspin buggy whip stuff, and let others make mistakes, he does it so well. And if that fails, he can turn into the offensive. Against Birdy he only had 7 errors the first set. Amazing stuff.

Murray has more smarts than most, only when he over thinks it he gets into trouble and then self destructs.

Feel the Force Luke! Let it flow! Hee heeeeee!

Re: Fed

“This is where it starts….”

Agree here. Great attitude. But please Fed don’t say it starts here. It started from the get go , or else you wouldn’t have been here. Just sayin..

Prediction;

Nole gives Fed a much tougher match this time, and Fed squeaks out in 3, or Nole wins in 3. Regardless, it goes 3. The biggest question; will Fed blow match points? If Nole wins….look for him to take it all.


Dory Says:

So everyone know Murray has it what it takes to defeat RF and Nadal. He just needs to confidence, mindset and consistent level of play over 2-3 hours to do the job. I don’t find his attitude defeatist, but rather practical. He’s going to try his best, it’s not as if he’s going to give the easy victory to Rafa.

RF vs Nole…hmm Nole will have to play special like he did at the US Open. If RF plays like he did in this round robin matches, he’ll win in straight sets. Even if Nole wins, he has to again face possibly Nadal in the final so I hope RF wins this time.

It’s time again for a RF vs Nadal final. For far too long, we have been denied that. My prediction RF vs Nadal :) though I *wish* Murray wins in the semis.


Dory Says:

My last para didn’t come out correctly like I meant. I would love a Nadal Federer final but I admit I am scared of Nadal’s form and I wish RF to win this tournament so I hope Murray defeats Nadal in the semis. :)


Dory Says:

And again to clarify what I mean by “I am scared of Nadal’s form”. I don’t mean RF is incapable of defeating Nadal in this form, but he mentally breaks down sometimes against Nadal. Like in the Roland Garros finals or Aus Open 2009 final’s 5th set.


Valky Says:

I don’t agree with this prdiction, i’sure nadal will lost and the winner is andy.


Gannu Says:

Ha ha Dory… we understand everything.. fed fans can understand what other fed fans think;-)

Yeps let our man win….If roger wins the semis i wont be ther to se ethe final :-(((( Boohooo….i have a wedding to attend at that time..it would be such a nightmare to not see him play the final… anyways let him first win the semis


Eskay Says:

Rafa-Andy is the unpredictable one. Both will die on the court than lose. Andy can be predicted to apply the A.O strategy of serve and volley. He will serve on Rafa’s B.H and advance to the net. If his first serve in is 65%, Rafa will mostly be chasing rather than dictating play. Rallies will be long since both are basically defenders. Andy has not been able to exploit the forehand corner of Rafa as well as others have done. Rafa will have to go for the lines and his unforced errors will be more than usual.


MalaMo Says:

I think Andy is taking Rafa out today….imo he’s just getting the pressure off…and than FedEx takes it all.


dunbar Says:

Dory says:” He [Murray] just needs to confidence, mindset and consistent level of play over 2-3 hours to do the job.”

I think he might have the “consistent level” of play – although to some extent this does depend on his serve which, more than most peoples’ serve, does seem to lie in the lap of the gods. Even Federer’s serve goes badly off sometimes, and no one seems to know why.

But that’s not enough. Let’s assume consistency from Murray, then the confidence will flow and I guess the mindset will be good.

We know all this will be true for Nadal.

Therefore, it is quite likely it will all boil down to a few points at the critical moments.

If Murray can grab those moments, he will have passed a severe test and effectively changed his status in the game.

A lot rides on it – if the match is close.


FedEnd Says:

Very good morning to all my dearest FEDTARDS.
Lets all cheer for Murray to get the job done for us.


Rick Says:

Hehehe, I told everyone that, Soderling would only has his chance against Ferrer. I told you guys that, Federer is in an easy group. I told you that, Roddick would get beaten by everyone. I also said that, it would be very difficult for Del Potro to comeback!


Rick Says:

Seriously, Federer has an easy draw to get into semi, although he beat Murray. But Federer also said that, Murray didn’t play well that day!


Kimmi Says:

the bryans are out. happy for nestor and zim. yay! why are they breaking up?


Rick Says:

FedEnd! YOU’RE THE BEST!!!!


dave Says:

Murray’s ‘defeatist attitude’ was meant to be sarcastic, given the blasting he got in the British press after being crushed by Federer (who had piled on the pressure heavy and early on Murray). He clarified on Twitter that his comments were meant to be sarcastic, then took a pot shot at his critics at the same time. Smart guy this Murray, so maybe he’ll wear a kilt and bear a white flag in his match aginst Nadal.

“Only five players have ever beaten Nadal and Federer in the same tournament, but Murray is one of them, having done so in Toronto this summer. For all his tongue-in-cheek comments on Thursday night about seeming unable to beat the top players in big matches – “If sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, why don’t smart people get it?” he asked on Twitter yesterday – the Scot knows that the best regularly bring out the best in him.”
http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/tennis/murray-hopes-to-have-last-laugh-after-nadal-sets-up-showdown-2144849.html

Anything can happen in Murray’s match against Nadal, including a straight set victory over Rafa. Nadal has not been as dominant in his first sets in all three matches. People tend to be mesmerized by Nadal’s physical action in matches, but all three of Nadal’s matches could have gone either way. Roddick actually outpointed Nadal in the first two sets, but blundered after getting te mini-break in the tiebreaker (i.e., Roddick had a chance to win in straight sets). Djokovic was going toe to toe against Nadal until that Spanish-sourced eye contact took on a life of its own. Berdych was two points from winning a tight first set when Nadal went beserk and disrupted the Czech’s rhythm and game. [Replays show that before the umpire called "out" Berdych's ball (that clipped the baseline), Nadal had raised his arm to stop play, moved as if the point had ended (decelerated away from the baseline instead of recovering to a better position), and merely stroked the ball with less spin back in play.]

The short of it was that all three matches could have been potential losses for Nadal, and a rejuvenated Andy Murray could expose exactly how well Nadal is really playing today. Muray has something to prove after his last two dissapointing games against Nadal at Wimbledon and Federer a few days ago.


Kimo Says:

We’ve got the semifinals we wanted. Here’s to a Fed-Rafa final, although I’m kinda worried about Fed playing Djoko yet again for a fourth time in three months. He may suffer from mental fatigue. Remember how Fed played Falla in RG, Halle? By Wimbledon he was already so sick of seeing him on the other side of the net he almost lost in the first round.

Judging from Rafa’s current form as well as Andy’s, it’ll probably be a straight set victory for Rafa.

Let’s do it, Rog.


gannu Says:

Excellent analysisi by dave.. Well done


FedEnd Says:

Common Murray…beat Rafa and clear the path for Federer !!!
All the support, prayers and best wishes of the biggest ever fan club of all sports called the FEDTARDS are with you.
Common Murray !!!!


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Dave- thanks for that info, really changes my outlook on this. If the Murray from Oz shows up, focused and determined to play offensive tennis, he has a chance.
Great pre-match interview from Rafa, he’s such a cool guy. Wish I enjoyed his tennis as much as Fed’s cause I think Ill be watching a lot of it over the next few years, but I certainly appreciate him as a person.
Great weekend of tennis, let’s get it on!!!


Ike Says:

ATP world tour final’S final should be a five set match (like it was “some” times in the past)….does anyone agree with me?


Ike Says:

Tennis Vagabond
thanks for the kind words about Rafa


Tennis Vagabond Says:

1-1 and looks like we’re in for a treat so far!


mat4 Says:

I see rather a Murray – Djokovic final. First, I don’t think that Djoko will let Fed slip from his grasp for the third time in a row. He has an clearcut plan of play to win, and he will stick to it this time. Let’s not forget that he is serving much better.

Murray has the game to beat Rafa whenever he wants on HD. The only problem is his attitude: will he be aggressive enough?


Kimmi Says:

Good start for muzz so far. go muzz!


steve-o Says:

It’s got to be psych-out tactics from Murray. He’s beaten Nadal in a Grand Slam semifinal, which I think only two other players have done. That’s a big match.

Guess we’ll see if it works.


Daniel Says:

So far I am imitasses with Murray, serving great and going for his shots. Nadal also made some winners leaving this match won’t have long ralliea as we all thought.


Daniel Says:

What was this point!!!


Tennis Vagabond Says:

ACK! WHat an awful drop shot from Murray in total control of the point! Murray, you have a lot of weapons, the drop shot isn’t one!


kevan Says:

i my way I think that the best win this ATP but always NADAL,The great man,winner of Winbledon,Roland garros ,i like him,i had read someperson like Daniel ,bye


kevan Says:

i like………………..NADAL


Kimmi Says:

nadal serving to murray FH is working a lot for him. murray misses few returns. a good serve to the body from nadal too


Kimmi Says:

challenge in a timely manner. they both dont..ha-ha


puckbandit Says:

wow this is a tight match


Rick Says:

Federer has never beaten Djokovic and Murray back to back. Or Djokovic and Murray back to back! He now has Nadal’s draw in the semi for being seeded 2. And that makes you admire what a champ Nadal is.


blank Says:

Rick,
Guess who Federer beat in the SF and Finals at the 2008 US Open.


i am it Says:

Perhaps this match ranks as exciting to me as Djoko vs. Fed and Djoko vs. Rafa, this year. Murray could make this (and hopefully next) match as the turning point of his career. He has a lot to prove.

Dave Says: “Anything can happen in Murray’s match against Nadal, including a straight set victory over Rafa. Nadal has not been as dominant in his first sets in all three matches. People tend to be mesmerized by Nadal’s physical action in matches, but all three of Nadal’s matches could have gone either way. Roddick actually outpointed Nadal in the first two sets, but blundered after getting te mini-break in the tiebreaker (i.e., Roddick had a chance to win in straight sets). Djokovic was going toe to toe against Nadal”

I also thought the same way before the match, except that Rafa has been getting better after the 1st two sets against Roddick. By the time he played Djoko, he was close to the USO form. Today, he looks as good as he can be: The very 1st point, which Rafa won (BH short angle from inside the court), was symptomatic that Rafa is at his best form, with determination, focus, heart, and clean strokes.
Defensive tennis at its best, peppered with routine offenses from both whenever an opportunity has been presented.

Now already into the tie breaker, Rafa taking a mini break, it looks like he’s gonna win 1st set (look at those inside out forehand, 9 of 11 points for the Spaniard by 5-2 in the tiebreaker) and it will be very difficult for Murray to turn it around.

Yes, the quality of tennis is very high, but I am disappointed that Murray’s return has been weakly defensive at times, waiting for Rafa to err.


jane Says:

Nerve wracking.


puckbandit Says:

What a set. If Murray would’ve served better in the tie-break, could’ve been a different outcome for him


Ike Says:

What a set!
Hope Murray can come back….


Rick Says:

FYI, Federer gets an extra day rest again! While Nadal was playing yesterday! And he is first on court today!


i am it Says:

After 36 shots, the longest of the match, Murray was momentarily back in the set, with that beautiful play at the net. Rafa’s drop shot was so good but Murray anticipated correctly. But Murray could not handle the next volley from Rafa.
1st set goes to Rafa. Murray is failing to deliver . . .


Daniel Says:

Nadal’s forehand is killing today, even with his backhand not being able to hurt Murray.
Murray served great the whole set but couldn’t fins a first serve in the tiebreak.


Rick Says:

Federer always gets an extra day rest whether he is being seeded one or seeded two!


jane Says:

Murray gets it to 5-all, and then. Well. It will be tough to come back and win now, but Murray can do it if he stays focused. He’s often a guy who loses set 1 but wins the next 2. Only, against Rafa that’s a tougher proposition. Andy! Don’t give up!


blank Says:

If only Murray can win this from here, that’ll do wonders to him in 2011, hopefully.


Ike Says:

second serve and return of the second…probably the most neglected parts of tennis were the key to the firs set!


Duro Says:

That’s why I’m falling in love with tennis over and over again… The most beautiful sport in the world.


Kimmi Says:

wow! nadal the aggressor and he was rewarded.

can murray still fight in the second set…


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Andy, Andy, Andy! WHat did I just say about that drop shot? Its terrible!


Ike Says:

Murray has never beaten Nadal after losing the first set in a three set match….of course there is first time for everything, hope this is the one for Murray………


Ike Says:

that’s real aggressive tennis from Andy now…


Ike Says:

i think Andy should come to net more…especially on Rafa’s serve…there is NOTHING to lose


Ike Says:

well, may be a point..


Gannu Says:

Its all over.. murray fans can pack their bags and go home.. Rafa the animal has woken up..u cnat fight aginst animals…!!


Daniel Says:

Murray can’t hit a flat forehand, 2 mistakes in this game.


Polo Says:

Oh no! Was that Alex Corretja I saw in Murray’s box at the opposite end of his Mom? I think I know who is going to win now, for sure.


rose Says:

great first set .it could of go either way but at the end nadal showed how good he is under presurre..i will be surprise if murray win this match now but he is an elite player so everything is possible here..enjoying this match a lot..but I’m hoping for a roger/nadal final ..we haven’t had a lot of those this year..nice way to end up the 2010 season with 2 of the best facing each other :)


jane Says:

Andy needs those first serves. Good hold.


Skorocel Says:

Any decent livestream online?


i am it Says:

Rafa is proving time and again that he is the ONLY TOP player. There is no such thing as top 3 or top 4, except for a false drama. There is only one Rafa, and there is the rest of the field. If less than 100% Rafa can cause havoc like this and win the WTF, his domination could be the scariest of our time, last 2 decades.
I was looking for an opportunity to become a Murray fan, but it is looking like that’s not going to happen. Sadly he is not as good my boy Del Potro when it comes to big stage and against Rafa or Federer.
Thinking of Margot …


i am it Says:

Skorocel,
Best here, a collection of streaming. You may want to bookmark it.
livescorehunter.com/Livescores/Livescore-Tennis.html


Gannu Says:

Oh come on i am it.. dont glorify Nadal… He can never ever achieve what fed has dne.. 23 consec Gslam semis… That kind of domination is unthinkable..

and anyday Federer’s 100% defeats nadal’s 100% hands down.. if you wnat to see that go and see the masters semis 2006… thats was just the best quality match…


FedEnd Says:

My deepest condolences for the FEDTARDS !!!
Hope Djokovic saves Federer from embarassment one again like he did in USO 2010.


jane Says:

Skorocel, you could try http://www.fromsport.com. The feed I am watching is a bit choppy but there are a few links there.


guy Says:

>skorocel
i use bet365 for all these matches


blank Says:

Off topic: Dimitrov lost in the SF @ Helsinki Challenger event :(
Hope he makes a mark in 2011.


i am it Says:

Jane and Scorocel,
Try livescorehunter for all the online streaming. It has the best pool. Simply google it up and bookmark.


Hypnos Says:

Two comments on Rafa:

1) I’m becoming a fan. Starting with the US Open, he has shown that he’s more than an “animal” (to paraphrase Sampras) — he’s playing with insight, winning points with tactics and purpose. And not afraid at all to hug to the baseline and come in and hit a finishing volley.

2) Why is he wearing a watch? Is he going Edberg on us?

Respect.


Kimmi Says:

OK, dimitrov lost :( not a good day for my faves so far. c’mon muzza, you can still change that!


Kimo Says:

Hypnos, he’s been wearing a watch since Roland Garros. It’s one of his endoresment deals. It’s worth $525,000.

You just realized that now?!


Skorocel Says:

jane: Thanks for the link, but fromsport.com sucks… They have like 4 or 5 streams there, but only the first one worked for me – and even then it was freezing all the time… Hate watching tennis per livestreams! :-(


Daniel Says:

Murray’s return of second serve is horrible today. He ia not hitting Nadal at all.


Daniel Says:

What’s wrong with Murray come in to the net for a change?!


Kimmi Says:

nadal winning 86% of his second serve. not good for muzz


jane Says:

Thanks, will check it out i am it.


Skorocel Says:

i am it: That livescorehunter link looks interesting! Thanks!


i am it Says:

Does Murray have a weaker forehand? Why else Rafa is targeting Murray’s forehand? I want to hear from an official Murray fan.


Hypnos Says:

Kimo,

I was aware of his endorsement, but not that he was wearing the watch during play!


Gannu Says:

Thanks Nadaltard – fedwins etc…i am interested in knowing ur resonse incase fed beats nadal tomorrow.. wat excuse will you give?? he was injured tired.. or his a$$ was paining due to last night’s etc..????


jane Says:

Solid game from Andy there; nice forehand. Finishing points at net, etc. More like this.


jane Says:

Solid game from Andy there; nice forehand. Finishing points at net, etc. More like this.


blank Says:

Points like that make me realize how few UE’s Nadal has made today!


Hypnos Says:

Anyway, from a distance it looks like a $20 Casio :P

Murray finally asserting himself in a big moment …


jane Says:

Love-40. 3 forehand winning rallies in a row by Murray; I think you got your answer i am it. ;)


blank Says:

“Furious Forehands”…well put!


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Murray if you hit one more of those godawful drop shots I will catch a flight to England and give you the noogie of your life in 8 hours!!!


jane Says:

T.V. lol, that one was ill-timed.


Daniel Says:

Murray lost the match with that drop when he had a forehand to break, bizarre.


Skorocel Says:

Unbelievable play from Nadal on those BPs!


Tennis Vagabond Says:

For those keeping score, Murray is 0-3 on drop shots, all hit when he was in a dominating position!


i am it Says:

0-40, triple BPs for Murray. Can he do it here? 2nd serve. Wow, Rafa’s volley !!! 1 down, 2 to go. Murray got outplayed again. 2 down and 1 to go. Big body serve. All three chances evaporated in a jiffy.
Poor Murray !


Tennis Vagabond Says:

If you would have said a year ago, “Nadal is awesome but he cant handle Murray’s power” you would have been laughed at. But lookee lookee!

I am It- Murrays backhand is definitely his weapon.


jane Says:

Murray with the break!


Skorocel Says:

But even that wasn’t enough… Great BH from Murray!


Kimmi Says:

YES Muzza. go go go!


Ike Says:

brilliant!!!


i am it Says:

One more chance for Murray in the 7th game, 2nd set. Murray does it in style with that BH cross court !
Way to go ! We have a match or what ?


Daniel Says:

Tennis Vagabond,
My sentiments exectly. Wow, even so Murray manavas to broke. He ia not just hameeing Nadal’s backhand, he ia also pulling the trigger in the right time.


Kimmi Says:

HOLD please muzza. never a break until consolidated. c’mmmmmmmmmmmmmon muzza


Daniel Says:

This match is super high quality stuff.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Great tactical game by Murray. His thinking cap was on there.


puckbandit Says:

Nadall really being aggressive to get it back.


i am it Says:

Murray showed great athleticism on that 1st point, 8th game, outplayed Rafa to steal his point at the net.


Kimmi Says:

woooo what a back hand frm nadal. muzz 1st serve pls


i am it Says:

That cross court BH was insane from Rafa, reminiscent of the USO.
Murray holds, 5-3.


Kimmi Says:

C’mon muzza 2nd set in your bag


jane Says:

3-setter = anyone’s match. Lots of errors by Rafa at the moment.


blank Says:

Even better would be Murray breaking here and winning the set. It’s always good


blank Says:

got cut off…
It’s always good to start serving 1st in the final set


Kimmi Says:

GO MUZZA..c’moooon


Gannu Says:

Well played Murray.. well played.. hope u can continue playing like this and gobble up this man-eater!


Kimo Says:

Well done Murray!!!

Rafa was just in awe of Murray’s play for the last three games.


Ben Pronin Says:

Not sure what’s going on with Nadal at the moment but I love seeing Murray return that well.


Daniel Says:

Wow. Murray on 7th heaven now! Nadal felt the nerves and make unusual mitakes. The key to the third set will be Nadal’s first service game. Murray broke him 2 straight times.


puckbandit Says:

blank, you called it!

Rafa seemed to deflate a bit after he couldn’t break back right away.

Don’t expect that to continue thought into the third.

Good for Murray to be able to start third serving.


jane Says:

Great stats for Murray that set – 17 winners to 9 ues.


i am it Says:

Jane, “Murray can do it if he stays focused. He’s often a guy who loses set 1 but wins the next 2. Only, against Rafa that’s a tougher proposition. Andy! Don’t give up!”

With that double break and set in the bag, what you said above is becoming relevant. He played the best tennis in this set with 17-9 winners and 9-10 UEs.
I am becoming Murray fan.


Skorocel Says:

i am it: You don’t need to be a Murray fan to know that FH is (BY FAR) the Scot’s weakest shot ;-) For some unknown reason, he just can’t be aggressive enough off that wing, and it’s precisely this “inability” that’s preventing him from winning the Slams… He’s got great BH, great return, solid serve, anticipation, movement, etc. etc., but his FH is still a liability…

P.S. Just as I’m writing this, Murray wins the 2nd set by a FH winner ;-)


i am it Says:

A set for each, now the match begins afresh.


Ben Pronin Says:

Murray is feeling it now. Maybe this is the turning point for him? Haha, maybe that’s trying to add a little too much drama to this but still, he’s really hitting his stride.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

OK, fun and games are over, time for Nadal to step it up if we want a Fedal final (and we do, we do)!


Ben Pronin Says:

By the way, 16 aces over 3 sets (so far). Personal record for Murray, no?


FedEnd Says:

Common Murray….now there is hope for you and the FEDTARDS !!!!!


dari Says:

In the car,checking scores. Happy for murray to get that set. And from the sounds of it, its a great match i cant wait to watch on dvr! Let’s go, Muzza, take it home!


blank Says:

I hope Murray wins. If he loses, I hope this doesn’t do to him what it did to Novak after Rafa gave him some heart breakers towards the end of 2008 clay season.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Yes a Fedal final would be awesome. However, Murray is starting to look comfortable in this match, and he has fully deserved to be where he is at. Again, the taller 2 handed BH, the nemesis of Rafa.


Daniel Says:

Well Murray wants to lose this match.: 0:30 and he let Nadal back in the match with slop play. And again he just don’t come to the net to finish the points. I see a major Nadal come back once again.


Skorocel Says:

VERY important hold from Nadal!


steve-o Says:

Murray levels the match.

Nadal’s serving was the big thing that allowed him to win the first set. But that seems to have slipped slightly, and Murray has broken him two service games in a row.

As others have observed, he was out-Nadaling Nadal on a few points, making some crazy gets.

Against Murray, I don’t think Nadal can ever hope to break his will and run away with it. Murray defends too well and has too many tricks. But Nadal has the first set, that’s usually a guarantee of victory of with him.


i am it Says:

Of the last 20 points, Murray won 16. The bad call denied him another set of triple BPs and the streak broken. Rafa’s serve has been the weapon of the day. He holds. 1-1.

Ben Says, “Murray is feeling it now. Maybe this is the turning point for him?”
Hope for that big “turning point.” Anyway, drama is good.


jane Says:

I don’t know that I’d called Murray’s forehand a liability, at least not today anyhow. He’s hit a lot of winners off that side in this match.


Skorocel Says:

Daniel: That 0-30 was a BIG chance indeed! Usually, such missed chances spell doom for Nadal’s opponents…


blank Says:

He did that as though he wanted to lose that point!


puckbandit Says:

Murray is so smart, so why does he play the stupid dropper?


jane Says:

Murray’s letting up a little or something, a few more errors coming into his game. He needs to tighten up. Can’t afford to be broken. Meanwhile Nadal is trying to tighten the screws.


blank Says:

and lose the match!


Kimo Says:

OK Andy, now you’re just being stupid with those dropshots.


Daniel Says:

Hate being right. Mental filosofe by murray.


blank Says:

The Return of the Brain Dead!


Skorocel Says:

Murray blew it…


Daniel Says:

Collapse.


Kimo Says:

I’m disgusted with Murray right now. It’s like he’s giving the match away!!!


Kimmi Says:

break! Muzza..what was that game with drop shots. suicidal the commentator siad. grrrrrrrrrrrr!


Daniel Says:

It was 40-15 and he went mental with this drops. Bizarre.


jane Says:

Arrrgh Nadal with the break. You could just SENSE that coming. As Skorocel said, when that love-30 went begging it just seemed like Murray lost steam and Nadal gained it. Sigh. It’s not over, but it will be very hard for Murray to break back and break again.


puckbandit Says:

What a awful serve game from Murray. He needs to put that dropper in the vault and throw away the key


i am it Says:

Two FH misses, and Murray faces deuce after 2 game points. Two suicidal drop shots and gets broken, that is Murray’s best shot?
Is Murray tired to play those stupid shots?

This match is virtually over.

Kudos to Murray for TRYING.

Congrats to Rafa for reaching the 1st final.


puckbandit Says:

Can Murry break back?


jane Says:

Like the announcers said, no more “mind melting moments” from Murray allowed!!


Daniel Says:

And now Nadal os painting the libes full of confidance.


blank Says:

jane, one could have sensed Nadal up’ping his level of play, but not a Murray brain freeze. Hope he can revive his brain and fight back. That’s why it is good to start the set serving, that gives you a little extra room to play yourself back in. Let’s see if he can do that.


Ike Says:

Jason Guodol said it quite right…mind melting moment from Murray!


dunbar Says:

so here’s the meaning of mental strength shoved into your eyes. At 1-0, Nadal 0-30 down, looking very flat – he’s there for the taking at least in this service game. Murray just presents it to him with sloppy ue’s. Then in his service game 2 insanely stupid drop shots (he did a really silly one in the game he broke Nadal, but got away with it), Nadal has broken. But only by hanging grimly on, waiting for the errors and playing sensibly.

I imagine now Nadal gets his second wind. Not to take advantage of Nadal when he is flat – the gods are unlikely to forgive that.


Polo Says:

One close-up of Corretja and Murray quickly drops his serve. Corretja was probably who suggested to Murray to use drop shots during critical parts of a match. What a bad karma Corretja is to Murray.


i am it Says:

I don’t remember Rafa losing a match after winning a set and going a break up in the 3rd set, not in the last 5 years. Correct me if I am wrong.


jane Says:

The drop shot has been Murray’s nemesis today, not even Rafa. That’s an old thing Murray used to do actually, back in 2007; I hadn’t noticed it lately.


Kimo Says:

How can someone be so stupid and still be considered a grand slam contender?


i am it Says:

I see zero chances of Murray turning it around. I’d love to see him do it, but against Rafa, that is not going to happen.
Very high quality tennis, over all.


blank Says:

How dare he try that drop shot again!? This is only going to feed his dead brain with more confidence to try it again at a later time.


dunbar Says:

Nadal still a bit flat, or maybe tired. So Murray in with a chance – trouble is, he looks tired, too.


Gannu Says:

Really feel bad for murray… hope he can somehow come back and create some miracle…


jane Says:

blank, what I meant to say is that I sensed/could see Murray was getting looser, more errors creeping in, and that can lead to brain freeze when its crunch time. Anyhow, yes, let’s see if he can come back. He’s got love-30 again!


blank Says:

watch for the dropshot again now.


Ike Says:

dunbar

agree with ur comments re. tired….but still i won’t write-off Murray…yet. I think we mere mortal average people don’t understand the strength / stubbornness of world class athletes!


blank Says:

jane, I understand. I was just expressing my frustration how he could have been so stupid.


Gordo Says:

That may have been Murray’s chance, I think!


jane Says:

i am it, you were right. Nadal’s serve is now a weapon and has been so today.


Polo Says:

Can’t wait for the next match. This one is done.


Kimmi Says:

what a serving display from world no 1


Kimmi Says:

murray breaking a lot of raquets


Gannu Says:

its seems the gods just want rafa to have everything… this is rafa’s year so let him have everything.. lets see what happens next year… guess its destiny…last year the skies opened up for fe dto achieve all sorts of records.. and this year its rafa’s turn..!


i am it Says:

Murray gets 2 more break points. Even if he had broken back, I don’t see him winning the match, though I’d love to see him do it.
Again FH error into the net, from Murray. Still has 1 BP. Rafa erases with a big serve. Another big serve down the T. Another unreturnable serve. Both BPs gone. And Rafa holds to take 4-2 lead.


blank Says:

Looks like we have a 6-2 set here :(


Skorocel Says:

Kimo: If you don’t consider Murray (already No. 2 in the world, now No. 5, twice a GS finalist, winner of 6 MS titles + 10 other titles) at least a “grandslam contender”, then who do you think it is? Ferrer? Verdasco? Berdych? Guys who choke in almost every single important moment, and who, thus far, have never won anything worth of importance, and probably never will (?)…


dari Says:

Well what happened to those break points?


blank Says:

dari,
Those break points were ‘drop shotted’ ;)


Kimo Says:

Skorocel, none of the above.

You want proof of that? Since 2005 (That’s 20 slams), only three players managed to win a slam other than Fed or Rafa (Safin, Djoko, Delpo).

I rest my case.


jane Says:

That was a nicely angled forehand winner to hold. I agree with Skorocel, Murray is still a grand slam “contender”. He’s been hanging with the world number 1, here, in a tightly contested match. He played a few bad shots, but that doesn’t suddenly mean he can never win a grand slam.

Let’s wait and see how this match plays out.


Polo Says:

Agree with you on that Skocerel. Murray may have played some bad shots but he remains a legitimate grand slam contender. In spite of those crazy drop shots, Murray’s game against Nadal could not be called shabby at all.


i am it Says:

Rafa is DA Man. Two games away from playing the final.
I think this match could prove to be as traumatic for Murray as Madrid match did to Djoko. It could be worse because this match is played on Murray’s best surface. Time and again, Rafa is demolishing the so-called hard courters.
Look at the reflex from Rafa at the net to win that difficult point.Simply, wow !!!


blank Says:

i am it,
It’s one of those days where I don my loser hat again and hope Fed doesn’t make it to the finals :(


skeezerweezer Says:

i am it,

yeah that Rafa. down a BP, and then 3 big serves in a row to dig him out. Huge stuff from Rafa.

Rafa holds. Crunch time for Murray. Have to say Rafa has played spectacular stuff. If he goes on and wins here, he obviously continues to be the favorite of the tourney. No new news here. It wasn’t like Murray wasn’t playing well at times either.


van orten Says:

it s the typical nadal win match..you cannot see him losing serve when he is 40.15 or 40:0 in front. murray on the other side is up 40:15 and is being broken ..you just don’t know if he is goin to hold serve when nadal your opponent.that is the difference that makes him right now the best in the world. nadal does not make any unforced errors while facing breakpoint. and brings almost everytime his first serve. like fed used to do when he was his age. well all things must pass one day..but don’t expect nadal loosen up the next couple of years. impressive !!!!


Skorocel Says:

Shot of the tournament!


guy Says:

insane points. murray can definitely hold his head up even if he loses.


Skorocel Says:

Wow! 40th time lucky with the dropshot! ;-) Not over yet…


Gannu Says:

come on muzza.. one last effort for the year… give everything that u can…


steve-o Says:

A missed match point. Unusual for Nadal.


Daniel Says:

Well, at least Murray made Nadal serve for the match. One last chance.


van orten Says:

please don’t interpretate now that nadal will always beat murray from now on on hard courts..u cannot tell. it s too close. def. murray has the game to beat nadal on hard courts in the future as well.


Skorocel Says:

Once again a 0-30 situation… Can Murray finally do it?


i am it Says:

Glimmer of hope for Murray, one last strand. His FH screws up again, or he could have earned 3 BPs.


Kimmi Says:

back on serve…unbelivable!


Kimo Says:

NOW WE ARE F***ING TALKING!!!

Andy, you just got a new lease on life. Don’t let it go to waste.


jane Says:

HA~ MURRAY!!!!


steve-o Says:

Several players have the GAME to beat Nadal. That’s not the question. It’s mentality that’s the problem.

Murray has had many chances in this match, and he’s blown all the crucial ones.

As I write this, he has broken back as Nadal served for it. So maybe he has a shot of pulling this off.


skeezerweezer Says:

Wow. Murray. Heroic stuff against the world #1 at his best.


i am it Says:

Break point for Murray. 2nd serve. The Scot does it and levels the match. He is alive. I am excited.


Skorocel Says:

Well, it wasn’t without some complications, but Murray finally did it! And WHAT A SHOT it was!


Gordo Says:

Hey Polo – when does the next match start since this one “is done” ?


steve-o Says:

Then again, Murray’s poorly timed dropshots may make a comeback as he serves to move ahead.


jane Says:

Nerve wracking. Murray tight and hits backhand long – deuce.


jane Says:

Nerve wracking. Murray tight and hits backhand long – deuce.


Skorocel Says:

Yay! That 1st serve at 40-15 should’ve gone in! Now it’s deuce…


Daniel Says:

What is wrong with him, mental case.


van orten Says:

and again 40:15 up again 2 unforced errors
nadal is impossible to beat


Kimmi Says:

oh noooo! muzza hold pls


i am it Says:

Murray had a chance to go ahead in the 3rd set but now faces MP. Weak mind and weak heart, is that all the difference?


van orten Says:

this could be some tough one to digest for either of them


i am it Says:

correction: MP = BP


jane Says:

Deuce again. And Ad to Murray.


Kimo Says:

This is definitely the 2nd best match of the year after the Fed-Djoko USO semifinal, and in terms of quality of tennis, it’s the best.


jane Says:

Ace and Murray pulls ahead 6-5. Is this going to be a tiebreak or can Murray break Rafa again?


Gannu Says:

if there is some justice in this world.. then murray should take this match….otherwise i will be so bloddy damn heart broken….


i am it Says:

That 137 MPH serve saves the BP and obe-two punch another game point for Murray.
Ace does it, 6-5, first time leading in the decider.
Hope !


van orten Says:

when was the last time nadal lost a close match..i mean a nerve wrecking match…ages ago


Daniel Says:

Wow, it’s like a rollercoaster!


Skorocel Says:

As crazy as it may sound, it’s now Nadal who’s under pressure… 6-5 Murray!


skeezerweezer Says:

Has anyone noticed Murrays strategy here hitting loopin topspin shots to Rafa? It actually is allowing him to recover better against Rafas game. Also Rafa doesn’t know what to do with it at times….who woulda thought that…..


steve-o Says:

Murray holds. His only chance is to pour everything into breaking here. In a tiebreak, the advantage will swing heavily to Nadal.


i am it Says:

Kimo Says: “This is definitely the 2nd best match of the year after the Fed-Djoko USO semifinal, and in terms of quality of tennis, it’s the best.”

Exactly my sentiment.


van orten Says:

nadal will not lose this match!!!


Skorocel Says:

Kimo: Fed vs Djoker USO 2010 semi was good, but only the 5th set. The rest was pretty “the standard”…


Daniel Says:

OMG! amazing match.


jane Says:

Tiebreak! Phew. What will happen?????? Murray, stay focused.


i am it Says:

Tiebreaker is a lottery. 50-50. Back to the beginning. I give Rafa the edge as a tiebreaker is a mental game as well.


Skorocel Says:

Can this be the 2nd match in what must really be an age for Nadal to lose after having a MP? We’ll see…


van orten Says:

@skorocel: “Fed vs Djoker USO 2010 semi was good, but only the 5th set. The rest was pretty “the standard”…”
above all federers play on that day !!!


Kimo Says:

Skorocel, if you mean in terms of quality of play, yeah you’re probably right, but in terms of drama, it was way more intense.

3-0. GO ANDY!!!


Kimmi Says:

GO MURRAY!


jane Says:

3-0 to Murray – he’s going to WIN!!!


steve-o Says:

Murray’s backhand is firing. Nadal cannot retrieve that crosscourt shot.

Wow. 3-0 Murray. Let’s see if he can keep it up.


Skorocel Says:

That’s the FH I’d like to see more from Murray… 3-0 and serving!


i am it Says:

Looks like Murray is winning. I am happy.


Kimmi Says:

Pls muzz dont give away point!


Kimo Says:

Skorocel Says:

“Can this be the 2nd match in what must really be an age for Nadal to lose after having a MP?”

I’d love to see what Fedend would have to say about that :)))


Kimmi Says:

i am it! pls dont jinx him..until the fat lady sings remeber!


mat4 Says:

Jane: it’s not over yet.


jane Says:

4-2 Okay it’s still really close and tense. Murray has a mini break but you “can’t count Nadal out” as Goodall said. Very nerrrvous!


van orten Says:

its only over when its over vs nadal


Kimmi Says:

OMG, only one mini break now. c’mon muzza


van orten Says:

ace would be good for murray now


van orten Says:

nadal will win this it is as clear as the sky right now over my house haha


jane Says:

4 all Ahhhhh….. I knew never to count out Rafa sheesh! He’s too tough!!!


Kimmi Says:

3 straights point for nadal…never count the bull out..muzza hold your serve here now


jane Says:

Phew – Murray gets that point – crucial one!!


i am it Says:

5-4 Murray. Go Murray !
He is showing he has the mental fortitude, no more head nutcase?


mat4 Says:

Murray is playing with to much safety on his FH again. He can’t just wait if he wants to win.


mat4 Says:

I better shut mu mouth.


i am it Says:

FH shank into the net deprives Murray of the 1st MP. Sad.


skeezerweezer Says:

Nooooooo!


jane Says:

Oh oh looked like a painful fall; perhaps the knock out punch? Stand up Andy, let’s see what you can do.


Gannu Says:

its been a miserbale year on the personal front and the agony continues…Disgusting…


i am it Says:

That must have hurt Murray. Feel bad for him. And facing the match point? Lost opportunity.


Kimo Says:

This match is so much like that Rafa-Djoko semifinal in Madrid 2009.


skeezerweezer Says:

Thought he was hurt there….


Kimmi Says:

sooo close..c’mon muzz..get your serve here


jane Says:

6 all. Ah this is crazy!!


Gannu Says:

I really hope murray wins this..God should so some mercy


Skorocel Says:

Murray HAS to hit a big 1st serve now! 6-6


i am it Says:

6-6. Murray, do or die, better win this point.


Kimmi Says:

No! missed important shot..now rafa match point on his own serve


jane Says:

Oh so close – now two match points on Rafa’s racquet.


Skorocel Says:

Yay, that forehand! 3rd MP for Nadal!


Kimmi Says:

what a FH by nadal..congrats nadal. great match from both guys.


Kimo Says:

Murray deserves my respect today, despite the brain cramp when he played the two consecutive dropshots.


van orten Says:

the animal stroke deadly again


jane Says:

Congrats to Rafa; he hung in today. And he played the big points like a champion, came up with great tennis exactly when he needed to. WHAT A FOREHAND to finish it!!!

FUN MATCH!!

Andy, such a nice try!!! : ( Just watch the tapes – you’ll see how and where you went wrong and you can bounce back better from here in 2011!! Good try, more points and still loses (exactly like Nole in Madrid 2008 match)

Exciting final points!


Gordo Says:

And just like that it is over. Rafa’s mental toughness won out in the end. But kudos to Murray for playing a great match. Best match of the year, imo.


Ben Pronin Says:

Now the most fit guy on tour has to recover from 3+ hours to play a final the next day on his “least favorite” surface.


i am it Says:

At the end, bad luck for Murray, MP 3 for Rafa.

That inside out FH was the best I have seen all year.
Great job, Rafa !
Rafa is just 1 match away from winning the 1st WTF.
Officially, Rafa beats Murray and books first spot for the final.

Congrats to the champ, once again.

Rafa played some of the best tennis today, and Murray tried hard but was not enough, and the Scot will not be ready for Rafa at AO, not enough time to improve to match Rafa’s level. That’s just my opinion in the heat of the moment.

Commiserations to Margot and all Murray fans.
He missed an opportunity to make me his fan. I was willing.


Skorocel Says:

Unbelievable! 1-4 in the breaker, and the guy once again comes back and wins it!


Daniel Says:

Well that’s not going to make any good for Murray confidance. Well Fed is the last hope. Murray again couldn’t fins An. Ace in the tiebreak. How can he open 3-0, 2 serves and lose?! That’s the difference berrarem true champions.


skeezerweezer Says:

Great Match. Congrats Rafa, thought he would get through, but not his close. Still the fav to take it all….

Murray got to feel good about most of his play here. He brought out a new recipe, and for the most part me liked it,,,,,


van orten Says:

i begin to wonder when nadal will begin to falter begin to miss those important points…he is just unbreakable.


steve-o Says:

Congrats to Nadal. Great effort by Murray. Some remarkable tennis from both, it was an amazing match.


i am it Says:

Ben Pronin Says: “Now the most fit guy on tour has to recover from 3+ hours to play a final the next day on his “least favorite” surface.”

Excuse, denial, or fear?

You did not mention that in your 2 articles.


van orten Says:

@i am it
: how can you say something like that..next time murray can win against nadal without being that much better or wiser or whatever..it is the champions luck nadal has and maybe next time murray will fight back you never know..one day nadal will have to digest losses like today murray


Duro Says:

Murray should be nothing but proud…

Jane, more points? How many? Novak had 5 more and lost it. I think it was 2009 in Madrid, right?


Ben Pronin Says:

Wait what? I’m merely pointing out a fact.


Andrew Miller Says:

Murray showed champion vibes in this match. Heckuva match. Nadal is just incredible – not because of his fitness but the concentration and workman-like ways he goes about each point, as well as the courage to pull the trigger at the right moments. Again – Murray played incredibly well, shows yet again he belongs (though as Dan would say, there is still an elephant in the room – Murray is a grand slam champ if slams were best of three), but what a performance! As for Nadal, sheesh the man is one of the best tennis players and competitors ever.

Today Nadal struck me as a hybrid Agassi-Chang (Agassi’s ‘go for broke when pressured, plus laser-like groundstrokes’, plus Chang’s wicked speed) with Sampras’ assasin mentality (“I’m here to beat you and do not care if you think otherwise”). Solid game plus Sampras-like focus and mentality. Murray showed all of that too.

Well played.


steve-o Says:

Oh, and one more thing: Nadal is the heavy favorite to win it all.

The guy has a 78% strike rate in finals. He is going to win this, irrespective of the winner of the second semifinal.


jane Says:

margot, I hope you got to go to that match; we should be proud of Andy methinks. Sad he lost : ( But other than a couple poor shot selections, he was right there. I mean, right there. It was another good year for Andy too, with two Masters titles, as well as adding his name to the list of players to beat Rafa and Fed at the same event. It’s a small list, that one, and our boys are on it. :)


i am it Says:

skeezerweezer Says: “Great Match. Congrats Rafa, thought he would get through, but not his close. Still the fav to take it all….

Murray got to feel good about most of his play here. He brought out a new recipe, and for the most part me liked it,,,,”

I agree with you it was definitely a great match, one of the best of the year. Truly a treat.
But I am not one of those who’d “feel good” about losing to Rafa, esp. a close one when you have chances. Ask Djokovic, he has more bruises of Rafa’s beating. He still has not gotten over that Madrid match and gets nightmares.


Andrew Miller Says:

If Federer gets the final and wins it, I aint complaining. He needs a win on Nadal and soon, and these are perfect conditions to beat Nadal (a slightly weakened opponent, plus a favorite surface, plus confidence).

I’ll come right out and say it: I’d like to see Federer win it convincingly tomorrow, but for Federer to keep in mind that he needed some luck to win it.


jane Says:

Duro, oops, yes, you’re right it was Madrid 09. I don’t know how many more points but the announcers said that Murray won more points in the match but still lost. Agree with you – Murray should be proud of his effort today. It was great!


van orten Says:

djoker will not stand a chance vs nadal just as in the us open final..so hope fed plays a decent match to give us all the true final…but likee this years history has told us: time to be optimistic. fed lost so many matches this year while nadal all won those thrillers..so hope this time he gets through


dari Says:

I only saw part of the last set, and that alone was a great match. Congrats to rafa and deep condolences to Mr. Murray. Kid can’t catch a break against the big boys in the big matches. but man was he close. Rafa is just too unforgiving on crucial points.
Murray just breaks my heart.
Well, better get my pom poms out for fed!
I would love to see him take this match and get a shot to take down rafa!
Let’s go Rogerrrr!


van orten Says:

correction : the one eyed djoker will not stand a chance


mat4 Says:

It’s unbelievable that Murray plays his best only when he is on the ropes. When it’s even, I starts waiting for opponent’s mistakes, and, against Rafa, that’s not enough.

Perhaps the better player has lost that match, but the greater champion has certainly won.


Mg Mg Says:

Oh everybody wants Andy to win.


mat4 Says:

If Djoko makes the final, he will certainly win. No doubts about this.


mat4 Says:

And Federer will certainaly lose against Nadal. No doubts about that neither.


i am it Says:

In a blunt country language, if losing can get you anything, it must be more losses.

I did admire Murray’s efforts today, but am I proud of his loss? Hell, no.

Someone explain to me how you get anything out of a loss, except the feeling that I kept it close. So, all players are supposed to be proud for keeping the scoreline close when they lose to Rafa? Is that the limitation of the so-called top 4, let alone others?


Kimmi Says:

mat4 – why djoko win in the final and fed lose. dont understand yout logic!


Duro Says:

van orten, yes! That’s why he’s gonna use both his eyes… Lets wait and see. You might be right, though…


Mg Mg Says:

Roger will be an easier opponent for Rafa because of Fed’s slower movement and relatively weak backhand. It seems to me Andy and Novak move better than Rafa on hard courts.


dave Says:

ben, young Nadal has 6 to 8 hours advantage to rest over aging Federer or Djokovic. The “best athlete” in tennis should be fit enough to recover with that advantage.

This battle was not unexpected on a slow hardcourt. For all Nadal’s mythical mental toughness, this match showed his mental frailties. Nadal almost crumbed mentally in the end but Muray let him off the hook . The last set was in some points like a battle between two players who became mentally weak at the wrong time, won by the player who was the less mentally weak of the two right at the very end. I was rooting for Nadal to win at the end.

Hopefully tennis finally gets it Fed-Nadal final in the year-ending match.


i am it Says:

Good thing for Djoko and his fans that he is now guaranteed to keep his No. 3 for the year. Murray missed a huge opportunity there as well. Does he feel proud about that?


mat4 Says:

Kimmi: it’s just an overreaction to another post. Of course I don’t mean it.


Duro Says:

i am it, sadly and apparently – yes!!! Ha ha ha, your point is intelligent, but that value system is not working with this anomaly of nature – Rafael From Outer Space Nadal. Look at his h2h against all three of them. 22 more victories than losses. Hybrid 22nd century player. But guess what, he’s gonna lose to Novak, if Novak makes it through tonight. I wish…


Kimmi Says:

mat4 – :)


Duro Says:

That was the answer to your feeling proud question.


Gannu Says:

though i know i am building castles in the air and feddy bear has slim chances to win against Nadal (good that i am not there to see and get humiliated once again).. if he does he would have done by defetaing the no 1, no3 no4 and no 5…That could d wonders to his confidence.. \
nadal will hit some 12346575777 no of shots to fed’s backhand until it breaks donw badly…

All this frace about being tired will be used as an excuse and nadal is amazing at that… Just cant bear the sight of toni nadal..both uncle and nephew are big time cheaters


Duro Says:

Oh, boy. My mistake. The answer to your 12:46 pm question. Sorry.


skeezerweezer Says:

I am it,

His play was what I was mentioning, not the match. Who is happy about losing a match? He had success today in parts that Rafa had difficulty with. Especially buggy whip FH’s and loopy topspin BH’s to Rafa’s BH side. He was starting to control the point that way, mostly. Rafa was having troubles with the high kickers to HIS BH, which I thought was really odd…..

You are suppose to learn from losing, as well as winning, not that it is a happy thing. I hope he takes the lesson well.

I think after the sting of losing goes away, if he looks back there is stuff there that he can take to a win over Rafa in the future. He is still a very young guy. If he doesn’t learn from this in a positive way, why play?

Losing promotes losing only if you continue to lose.


Daniel Says:

I am hoping for a Fedal final. Fed was, is and will be the only one who can stop Nadal in a major tourney final. Djoko will play Nadal almost the same as Murray, with a lot of spin, from the back of the court.

Fed at least serves better, attacks, more, will come to the net and has more variety. Don’t get me wrong, todays was awesome tennis, but you get a feeling that all the point were the same, Murrays topspin forehands to Nadals backhand and some insane angles. But he tried to beat Nadal from the back of the court. Murray and Djoko play the game Nadal wants. Fed at least makes Nadal a little more unconfortable, even though Nadal’s HxH.

That’s how I feel: At this moment, Fed has a better shot at stopping Rafa then Djoko.


blank Says:

Well Daniel,

At least Fed has a better drop shot ;-)


contador Says:

22 aces and murray had his chances. “almost” is not good enough.


i am it Says:

Skeeze,
It is hard to build an honest argument esp if the issue involves a fine line between learning something that you can bank on and use next time, and suffering from the trauma of a brutal loss in an extreme case or endlessly lacking confidence, like in Murray’s pre-match interview.

When you lose, you learn to lose more. When you win, you learn to win more. There are plenty of exceptions to this rule, but you hear every time players saying, winning builds your confidence and makes you stronger to play more freely. Answer me, any of you, what did Djoko learn from ’08 Beijing Olympic, 09 Madrid, and ’10 USO losses?

One thing I lost today was hope for Murray winning the ’11 AO.


steve-o Says:

My heart wants Federer, but my head says Nadal.

God-mode Federer would win, but is God is still in the building?


jane Says:

I think Murray should feel proud of most of his tennis today, not for losing the match itself of course, but for his effort, as skeeze said it. Many players, after losing a first set over Rafa, might’ve faded away in the second. Or, after getting broken in the third. But Murray hung in there, kept fighting and brought the match to an exciting finale by doing so. And he can learn from his loss. When he made a poor shot selection, when he showed mental weakness (which Nadal showed too when trying to serve it out), etc.

There’s not much else he can do in this situation. He can’t get too negative. Just yesterday, people were applauding Fed’s attitude when he was in series of lost matches, how he always took the positives, and said “I played a good match” etc. And I think that’s exactly what Murray should do here. Take the positives, and move on. 2011 is a new year. Lots to which to look forward. Murray did get back #4 from Soda, too, I believe.


steve-o Says:

@i am it: after Murray made the USO final in ’08, he lost early at Flushing Meadows for two consecutive years.

So I don’t know if his making the AO final augurs well for future performance there, at least not in the short term.


i am it Says:

Daniel Says, “That’s how I feel: At this moment, Fed has a better shot at stopping Rafa then Djoko.”

I agree Fed is a better challenger to play Rafa. With a practice session like in the last 4 matches, Rafa is becoming invincible. If Fed wins today, it could be his last chance to get a win from Rafa. This is the only surface, Indoor Hard, that has been safe for Fed so far, and if it falls, Rafa will have possession over all the surfaces and territories. The ultimate Emperor, ruling the largest territory of Planet Tennis.


contador Says:

yes. lost my hope for murray winning a gslam final v nadal, if it comes to that.

i believe nole can beat federer but it remains to be seen if he can beat rafa in a gslam final too. makes me wonder about nole and murray…too much hero worship for nadal? i think maybe so.

delpo is not fazed by hero worship in the heat of the battle – he proved that to me us open 09. i hope he comes back to the tour healthy. and yet, i think even then, it will be a slow process.

nadal rules the tennis world, imo, for at least another year.


jane Says:

“Answer me, any of you, what did Djoko learn from ‘08 Beijing Olympic, 09 Madrid, and ‘10 USO losses?”

Olympics: he learned to always carefully time his overhead smashes, and to start quicker against Rafa. I don’t think he’s missed many smashes since then, not like that.

Madrid: he learned he can hang with the best clay player of this generation, but he has to close out matches when he has the chance. He also, jokingly, learned that perhaps he needs to play with two racquets against Rafa on clay.

USO: he learned that if he keeps trying, keeps putting himself in those positions, he may win. For instance, 07, 08, 09 – every year stopped by Fed at the USO. But not in 10! This time, he won. As for the final, he learned that Nadal’s serve is much improved, that sometimes, as someone above said, a baseline aggressive game is just what Nadal wants. He perhaps learned he needs to serve very well, and finish points more quickly. But that’s easier learned than executed, especially against Rafa.

Murray will learn things too – not to play the dropper on crucial points, not to loosen up when he should tighten up, etc.


dunbar Says:

mat4 says: “It’s unbelievable that Murray plays his best only when he is on the ropes… Perhaps the better player has lost that match, but the greater champion has certainly won”

That’s surely true. I did think Nadal was a little flat (by his standards) in the 3rd set, and there was every chance Murray could pull back. But when he was 3-0 up in tiebreak, I was feeling absolutely cold – simply waiting for Murray to tighten up and hand back the iniative.

I disagree with jane and those who say Murray can be proud of himself, and I feel i am it is closer to the mark. Of course the tennis over 3 sets was pulsating, the gifts of these two players ensure that. But it’s all about what happens at the end, isn’t it. It wasn’t Murray’s tennis which let him down.

Murray is so good that he cannot be satisfied if he has a great career by most players’ standard, but fails to win a big one. Still, you never know, Lendl looked to be marooned by his mental frailties, but he persevered and became a great champ.

“For all Nadal’s mythical mental toughness, this match showed his mental frailties. Nadal almost crumbed mentally in the end but Muray let him off the hook . The last set was in some points like a battle between two players who became mentally weak at the wrong time, won by the player who was the less mentally weak of the two right at the very end.”

Full marks to Dave for eccentricity! Murray certainly let Nadal off the hook, more than once in the 3rd set. Nadal took advantage – how is that mentally weak? Sure, he got broken and so on but a)look who was on the other side of the net and b)he is not quite match tight. Great as he has played, he is not yet the awesome player of the US Open final. Maybe that player will turn up tomorrow, although I doubt it. That player will turn up at the AO – be sure of it. Meanwhile, it is the mark of great mental strength that the player pulls through despite not being quite at his best.

Daniel – if it’s tight,(and it’s Fed) Nadal wins. I can – just – see Federer dominating Nadal, but I don’t see him scraping through…I can see Nadal dominating Federer, and I CAN see him scraping through. But then, he’s favourite!


mat4 Says:

I don’t agree. With good serving, Nole has excellent chances to win against Rafa. He has done it before, sometimes very easily.
Let’s not forget he was serving much slower at USO. And, most important of all, he believes that he is better than Rafa on hard courts.

For him, the problem is that Fed’s game doesn’t suit him well. He’s got to play with a lot of spin on Fed’s BH, to be patient, and to return well. But it’s his turn to win, so I expect a Rafa Nole final. And a Nole win.


jane Says:

I refuse to get down on Murray or Nole and their future chances. They are, and have been, *consistently* at the top behind right behind Fed and Rafa (Nole since 07, Murray since 08, both having gotten as high as #2 in the rankings at one or more points during those years), and they consistently face off with the two most dominant players in the sport’s history – certainly Fed and more and more now Rafa. They win some; they lose some. But they are always getting into the right positions. Eventually things may turn in their favour. But there is not much else they can do but keep trying, keeping working. Murray played a fine match today. He came very close. He beat Rafa handily in Canada, but Rafa has upped the ante once again with his improved serve and he deserves some credit for that. Now Murray and Nole need to find new answers too. I am excited to see what will happen next year.


kimberly Says:

Yay, rafa! Congrats to any other rafa fans! I was riding on a camel at the zoo during the tiebreak, total nerves, kept trying to check blackberry!

This is a massive achievment for rafa to get to the final. I hope he can take the next step but can’t complain about four hardcourt wins against top tenners!


i am it Says:

Jane,
Djoko did not say any of those in the post-match interviews. You can quote me from ASAP.

And you don’t have to go through that process of learning any of the things you mention above. If you can note those things by watching those matches, any tour level player can do better than that. He does not have to go through the pain and suffering of losing a close match.

Underscore: I am merely resisting the cliche that you should be proud of your loss and learn from your mistakes. If your point is about staying positive, easy said than done.

A brutal loss takes over your mind like it has Djoko’s and as Murray’s (ref. pre-match interview)that you cannot beat Rafa (it used to be Fed) at the world’s biggest stages.

The new in me says: If one is tired of Rafa and Fed (used to be Fed and Rafa, the order) winning everything, she should not be really pumped up about Djoko and Murray’s keeping close but losing eventually everything to them, the big prizes.


jane Says:

dunbar “I disagree with jane and those who say Murray can be proud of himself”

So what’s he supposed to do or feel? If he is shattered then won’t that be WORSE for his confidence going forward? I realize he made a couple bad shots and showed some mental lapses, but his tennis is right there. And he also kept fighting today. People have said that Fed’s easy-going (possibly dreamy) positivity when he was losing was a good mechanism. Somehow I think it might be good for Murray to be more positive because when he gets down it doesn’t help.

But last year he lost in the WTF at the same time and then he played a stellar AO getting to the finals. Maybe he’ll bounce back the same next year. Still wondering what he’ll do about a coach though.


dunbar Says:

jane says:”Murray will learn things too – not to play the dropper on crucial points, not to loosen up when he should tighten up, etc.”

re dropper – it’s partly compulsive, Gilbert was always trying to get him to stop even (so it was rumoured) threatening to pack in the coaching job if Murray wouldn’t exert a bit of self-discipline. I suspect it’s also tied in with the mental thing. You get the feeling that federer and Nadal drop with serious intent – it’s a risk, sure, any aggressive shot is, but tactically astute in some circumstances (opponent out of position). But with Murray and others, you sometimes feel it’s “hope for the best” time, a kind of mental tiredness.

As for the for the tightening up (d’you know, I nearly misread this: after all, in one use of the word “loosening”, this is desireable, implying free and relaxed play as opposed to lack of focus, and of course “tightening” is terrible. Still, I know what you meant – but it’s a mystery how you learn this. Some people seem naturally to be able to apply focus for long periods – obviosuly this is Nadal’s great strength. Is it possible to learn? Nadal claims he was brought up as a child to focus, so it comes kind of naturally. Trying to focus – I’m not sure about that.


jane Says:

Murray has gone on record saying that his pre-match comments were sarcastic, i am it.

I understand your resistant position, but I don’t know how Murray should proceed. He’s damned if he is too positive, or if he stays confident, and he’s damned if he is negative and says he has no confidence. Same with Nole, when he was uber-confident, people complained that he was too cocky; and then people complained he was too nice. It seems awfully tough for these two to strike the right balance. To me, they are trying, and they are getting close. That’s what matters.


simba Says:

Roger’s fans are scared to death now that Nadal is the fisrt Finalist. You can see them wringing their hands about the DREAM FINAL.


contador Says:

very good points, jane. and kudos to your optimism.

novak has a slam and that counts too. i believe more in him than in murray for 2011.

nole is really my best hope as competition for rafa in big gslam matches atm.

dread the “fedal” uhg…

*******************
dimitrov lost to berankis in helsinki. it was a good match. berankis is a good player but i don’t see either of them as top 20 players for a long time…. hope i’m wrong.
*******************
congrats to Kimberly. yes, this is a nadal fan’s dream…he proves himself once again. have to give him that, definitely.

riding a camel?


steve-o Says:

@jane: I don’t think it’s technical skill that separates Djokovic and Murray from Federer and Nadal. They have the skill to beat anybody. They’re good players, hell, they’re great players. If it weren’t for Federer and Nadal they would both have a couple majors each. They’ve been on tour long enough to know how things work.

They simply don’t execute as well on crucial points.

Murray had chances, tons of chances. He played extremely well. He just couldn’t play his best stuff when he really needed to. Nadal never has that problem; he is always dialed in 100%. The guy could be two sets to love, 0-5 in the third, match point down, and he will still totally believe he can turn it around. And sometimes he does.

Djokovic and Murray just aren’t made of the same stuff as Federer and Nadal. Those men are simply a cut above.

Del Potro, younger than both of them, proved last year that he has something that Djokovic and Murray don’t: the intangibles that separate a great champion from a great player. Champion’s spirit, killer instinct, whatever you want to call it.

I don’t think it’s learned. It’s inborn, and can be developed, but no coach can teach it. And I’m not saying that Djokovic and Murray don’t have it, but the evidence against them having it is starting to mount up more and more as time goes by.


Ben Pronin Says:

Looks like Murray and Djokovic are going to be Nadal’s Andy Roddicks.


mem Says:

dave,

were you born that stupid or did you acquire stupidity from your environment or both. to win this tournment, nadal will have played the best players in the world back-to-back-to-back while andy and roger get a day off as usual.

you have the audacity to say an aging roger and all roger has to do is rest and watch tv while nadal, whether he’s #1 or #2, is the one who has to always play consecutive days to win the title. i knew last sunday when roger’s group started this tournament, they were setting up so that the day-off would fall to roger. some people do know what’s going on. we’re not all ignorant. btw, he’s not an aging roger when he’s winning. i know you’re not too bright, but come up with something better than that!


jane Says:

I see the loose vs. tight confusion. I meant loose as in making slopping UEs. But loose can be positive. Tight works the same way. You can say a player tightened up his act and cleaned up the errors. Or he tightened, i.e., got nervous, and made more errors.

Language: so slippery!


skeezerweezer Says:

Jane,

You are right here, Andy should just pack up, go home, and quit tennis, cause it was a devastating loss, nothing he can do now, nothing he can learn from.

Sarcasm aside, look, Murray has been known for being “mentally weak” at times, in crucial matches. I am it has some truth, but it’s not like he doesn’t have the tools to consistently beat Rafa and Fed. He has beaten the both before, in finals. If he can’t take this in, and imo he will, and say to himself “next time, in this situation, i will win” then he will always be “almost”.

I am it,

I like this discussion about win/lose and how it works on the mental side but I have a feeling we would be writing novellas to each other. Hopefully we can take it up another time….Fed match coming up !


jane Says:

steve-o, I am anxious to see Delpo’s comeback in 2011, but it may take him a while to get up to speed after almost a year long layoff. It’ll be interesting to see him and Nadal match up again, now that Nadal has changed his game up a little, adding a tougher to beat serve. It could be a great rivalry. And we’ll soon find out. Hard to believe 2011 is just around the corner.

As for Nole and Murray, I am keeping the faith.


jane Says:

contador, it’s counter to my nature to be optimistic, but I do believe Murray can beat the best when it matters, and I think he will do it and win a slam. He has beaten Rafa in a slam, at the USO in 2008. And of course Nole’s beaten Fed a couple of times at slams. So I have to think they can do it again.

Anyhow, am taking a break till the next match.


steve-o Says:

@mem: Tired, schmired. We all know that, once in the final, Nadal has enough in the tank to pull through.

Your man played a five-hour match in the AO semis last year (longest ever at the tournament), then played four hours more the next day to win the title.

After pulling out of Paris with a shoulder injury (which seems to be completely healed given his serving display today) to rest himself, he shouldn’t have any problems with these piddly three-set matches, top ten players or no.

If he loses, it’ll be because he was outplayed, not because of exhaustion.


i am it Says:

Skeeze Says, “You are right here, Andy should just pack up, go home, and quit tennis, cause it was a devastating loss, nothing he can do now, nothing he can learn from.”

That was cheap, coming from you. I did not say that. I was not arguing with you or Jane. I am not going to. I just wanted to interject with a 3rd point of view.


Kimberly Says:

Thank you Contador—-taking the weekend off at my mom’s and hanging with the kids. Was at Lion Country Safari (hence the camel ride) during the match. Will not watch replay probably as UF/FSU game on and my husband wants to go to a bar and watch it.

As a Nadal fan obviously this is a dream year. Want him to win the tourney but after last year the vindication of his great performance is quite satifying. With that said, VAMOS Rafa!

We are treated to so few FEDALS that right now although I actually think he has a better chance against Novak as Fed has looked pretty smoking, I would like the FEDAL.

Sounds like this was an epic great match though, yes?


mem Says:

steve-o

i refuse to dignify your ignorance with a response! save it!


i am it Says:

Skeeze,
My bad. I had overlooked the “Sarcasm aside.”


skeezerweezer Says:

I am it,

Sorry, I take it back. I did say it was sarcasm. :(. Was trying to be funny but I guess it didn’t come out that way, and in no way trying to be offensive at ya. Your view was/is respected :)


skeezerweezer Says:

Haha posted at the same time i am it……now…”you are it”!!!!


steve-o Says:

i refuse to dignify your ignorance with a response!

LOLs, I think you just did.

@Kimberly: yes, it was a superb match. Much drama and some amazing tennis from both players. Murray almost made a dramatic comeback in the third, but it wasn’t to be as Nadal made a comeback from Murray’s attempted comeback in the tiebreak.


Kimberly Says:

i meant federer djokovic, not replay. My guess is fed will take it handily but what do i know? Depends which Roger Federer shows up.


sar Says:

Sorry to Murray fans. I didn’t see it all but he tried. Now it’s up to Nole. LOL

Glad Nestor and Z beat the Bryans today even though I am a fan of Bryans. It would be nice for Nestor and Z to go out with a bang, not a whimper.


contador Says:

well, it’s not epic to me, Kimberly. had enough of those “epics”

yes, federer has played some great tennis this fall. but…murray was fresher in shanghai after federer’s good performance getting to the final and monfils even beat fed in a semi in paris! i’m kinda doubting his….uh

he’s 29. as fedend’s pseudo points out and nearing the “end.” rafa is obviously at his peak. so, prefer to leave the final match to younger blood. just me.

have a strong feeling federer himself does not think like i do – lol…

this tennis fan won’t be watching a fedal. i’ve read that ending enough since 2008. hoping for djokovic with contact lens on right vs. nadal final.


Kimberly Says:

thanks for the update Steve-o

Sorry to Margot,Colin and Murrays other fans. Sounds like it was an epic.

Now off to drink and watch FSU. Can Sean post an article saying Florida will win and put a Jinx on them! Please!


dunbar Says:

jane, I think you have a point. If Murray and Djokovic continue to play well enough to be in top 4, it’ll soon be top 3. Obviously, Federer will only be around at the top for another 12 to 18 months. Then there’s just Rafa. He can’t win everything (Soderling at the French, etc). Not only that, whilst it is certainly conceivable that he’ll go on a mad spree for the next 3 years (which is why Fed’s record is certainly in severe danger), his level might actually drop slightly in, say a year. Providing Murray and Djokovic have kept soldiering on, they will then be ideally placed to take advantage.


dunbar Says:

One thing is for sure, if this turns out to be a tight 3 setter, it’ll be too close to call right till the end. Djokovic may once have been inclined to defer to Federer, my impression is that he thinks now that if his game is on, he will win. He won’t think that about Nadal.


Daniel Says:

I feel sad for Murray. He began the year with a crushing defeat at AO to Fed and now end the year with a similar one to Nadal. What he learn this year: when it matters the most he felt short.


i am it Says:

Federer wins in straight today and straight tomorrow.
Sorry, Djoko fans.


Daniel Says:

Silly mistakes Djoko and Fed is breezing. Very solid on serve. You see, Fed may lose if he faces Nadal tomorrow, but he won’t stay in the back hitting 20+ shots per point.


jane Says:

Roger’s returning better than Nole so far; that’s made the difference. Nole needs to take advantage of second serves in this match like he did yesterday, and he is not. Maybe he has, har har, one eye on DC? Maybe he’s thinking, let Roger play Rafa! J/K. ;)


Skorocel Says:

Fed really didn’t have to do anything extraordinary thus far – yet it’s already 4-1… Djoker making too many easy mistakes…


jane Says:

IF (which is looking very likely with Nole about to go down two breaks! UGH!) Roger and Rafa do meet in the finals, it could be very exciting in that they have not played for a long while (was the last time Madrid, this year?), and Rafa’s improved his serve. I don’t think they have played on hard court since Rafa won the AO.

Poor Nole, not having a good start. : /


blank Says:

Looks like Djokovic is getting some tennis lessons, which he didn’t certainly ask for.


Kimmi Says:

heee, go roger


Kimo Says:

I didn’t wanna comment on anything during that first set. I was too mesmerized by Fed’s play.

And his MOVEMENT today. MY GOD!!!


Skorocel Says:

Djoker is messing absolutely everything… Another bad volley and it’s 5-1 Fed


jane Says:

Embarrassing start for Nole. But I think it’s better that Fed plays Rafa anyhow. Nole needs to go home and get ready for DC. Let Fed and Rafa have this one out!

It’s hard to gage Fed’s form from this beatdown. What do people think? Will he beat Rafa like this? He’s certainly returning well.


Kimmi Says:

hope roger keep pressuring djoko in the second set. this is great so far!


Daniel Says:

Wow, it’s not like Djoko is playing bad, he made a DF on the first break point and missed two silly volleys (something he needs to work out). But everything Djoko does Fed went on to do a better shot. Plus his serve and volley combo is perfect today.


Kimmi Says:

jane – its not over till its over.

we know fed record with rafa..bad! hope he keep it up here. go roger


Skorocel Says:

Kimo: Agree on Fed’s movement. Thus far, it has looked really good (and not only in this match, but also in the RR matches). Hope he can keep it up…


blank Says:

jane,
Fed is capable of beating Rafa always. But it all depends on what goes on inside his head. As much as I hate to admit it, Nadal has almost done to Fed what Fed/Nadal have done to Djoko/Murray.


dari Says:

Federer, old man says who?! He sure did not look like a 29 year old that first set. Let’s keep it up second set, roger!


jane Says:

It’s a combo of Nole playing poorly and Fed playing crisply, with no errors. He’s very secure on his service games; Nole has done crap on the return, which is so unlike him. On the contrary Fed’s won 67% of 2nd serve returns and 40% of first serve returns. Fed’s familiar with Nole’s serve and is showing that, whereas Nadal has changed his now, so it’s going to be interesting. But based on this match, I’d say edge to Fed in the finals.


blank Says:

This match is eerily similar to the one they played in Toronto


Kimmi Says:

break just like that. oh no. c’mon fed


Kimo Says:

How many times does Roger do this: Cruise in the first and then get immediately broken in the 2nd?

Too many times for my liking.


Daniel Says:

Djoko really has the best return of the ATP. Dissenlly with 3 excelent returns and he is back in the match.


jane Says:

Finally Nole has some good returns and now he’s following it up with a crap service game? Come on Nole “Hold!”


steve-o Says:

@jane: It depends on which Federer shows up tomorrow. God-mode Federer, or his evil twin, who double faults, shanks regulation forehands, and dumps easy second-serve returns into the net.

Sometimes you get both in the same match, which really adds a lot of suspense, because you don’t know which one will come out on top.

Then again, I see Djokovic has broken, so I wouldn’t pencil in Federer for the final quite yet.


Kimmi Says:

federer gone off the boil now..c’mon wake up


Kimmi Says:

why you guys think federer will win today?

the match is not over yet. please dont jinx him :(


tennisfansince76 Says:

wgy oh why does Raj want to make this match harder than it needs to be. Djoko really wanted to lose in straight sets. all he needed was some encouragement.


Kimo Says:

If I know Fed, and I think I do, I don’t think he’ll be huffin’ and puffin’ to try and break back. If a break falls into his lap, he’ll take it, but he doesn’t want to prolong the set more than he has to.


Daniel Says:

And Fed was 40-15. Djoko had luck on that 0-30 volley which touched the net, if it landed on his side Fed would probably break back.


van orten Says:

we ve seen a typical nadal today and now a typical federer.
being broken after 40:15
still looking sharp though


jane Says:

Well it’s nice to see Nole has woken up and is finding a little bit of rhythm. He barely got any returns in play during the first set. At this point, Fed is ahead statistically in both returning categories (1st and 2nd serves). Also Nole’s first serve percentage has dropped so unless he can get it back up, I can easily see Fed breaking back.


Skorocel Says:

Agree with Kimo. How can Fed win the 1st 6-1 and then go immediately 0-3 in the 2nd is a mystery… He led 40-15 in his 1st service game of the 2nd set, yet he lost it. He led 30-0 in the following game on Djoker’s serve, had a great chance to play a passing FH winner to go 40-0, yet Djoker won the game in the end…


Kimo Says:

I love you ROGEEEEERRRRRRRR.


jane Says:

You guys aren’t watching the same match as me; even though Fed went down a break I never felt like Nole had the upper-hand. He’s not serving his best AND he’s not returning well compared to usual. So that’s why I knew Fed would break back.


Daniel Says:

Djoko needs some volleys drills, I mean right after this match.


Kimo Says:

Well, despite the hiccup, there’s no denying that Fed is playing way sharper than Djoko today. He’s simply being outclassed.


Skorocel Says:

Another poor volley and a mistimed would-be-easy-passing-BH-winner from Djoker – and Fed gets the break back!


van orten Says:

it’s increidible! best offensive player in the world. still ! what a point


steve-o Says:

Oh Novak, you cannot overpower Roger Federer. He wins through placement of the ball and superb court sense, not through power alone.

Some superb all-court stuff from Federer to break back.


Kimo Says:

On about half the point, Djoko tends to forget that he’s actually playing and stops to stare at the glory of Roger’s game. LOVE THAT :DDD


Daniel Says:

Fed is returning great indeed.


Kimmi Says:

sh$#t. 0-40 game gone


Daniel Says:

Fed should run the backhand ti attack it with his forehand. Chinos second serve is predictable always on Fed’s bakhand. That is the only part of his game I am missing today.


jane Says:

Yes, Daniel. Fed’s return today has been fabulous. He’s over 40% on first serves and 60% on seconds. This can make his match with Nadal really interesting, if he can return like this. But he and Nole have played 5 times since Wimbledon so Fed really has a rhythm and knows what to expect. Not sure it’s going to be the same with Rafa just because it’s been almost 2 years since they play on hard court.


van orten Says:

but as i wrote before: a typical federer !


Kimmi Says:

djoko will get some confidence for holding that crucial game. great hold!


Skorocel Says:

Another weird game from Federer – first he earns 3 BPs with some great FHs & returning, and then he losses like 4 or 5 points in a row and it’s game Djokovic… Could prove costly for the Swiss!


tennisfansince76 Says:

sloppy after being up 0-40.


van orten Says:

theres no player in the world who creates himself so many opportunities during a match. and still it seems he comes too short on his convertion of chances


jane Says:

Maybe Fed takes his foot off the pedal a little bit when he gets leads? Seems like a fairly normal reaction. Especially with comfortable leads and your opponent helping you a little along the way.


Kimo Says:

Roger’s first serve has gone AWOL.


jane Says:

It has dropped about 10% since set 1; Fed’s now at 63% firsts; Nole’s at 67%


Daniel Says:

Wow, now they are both playing great.


Kimo Says:

Roger didn’t play a first serve in that game until deuce. Then he fired a couple, and they didn’t come back.

That’s how important the first serve is.


skeezerweezer Says:

Nole getting the groove on here, feel like Fed is just trying to fend him off……remember when Fed could put it in another gear? Where did that go?


Skorocel Says:

Fed hasn’t hit an service winner for a while – but now he hits 2 in a row and it’s 4-4


steve-o Says:

agreed with van orten: Federer will sometimes miss break points he should have taken, it is a trademark of his game even at the best of times.


Daniel Says:

Finally his run away to hit his forehand on second serve return!!


Kimmi Says:

C’mon fed…


Kimo Says:

You know what? Annacone definetly worked with Roger on his volleys. You can just see it.

Playing like he has today, Roger would be anyone, and I mean ANYONE.


Skorocel Says:

Finally Fed gets that break courtesy of some fabulous returning & volleys…


Kimmi Says:

great return. they should stop serving to his backhand…fed seem to know exactly where the serve was going.


tennisfansince76 Says:

nice to see Fed taking a big cut on a second serve return! and it pays off.


Daniel Says:

I think I send Fef some good vibes. He hit two forehand return winners of Djokos second serve. Pracinha, because he will need a lot of those tomorrow.


skeezerweezer Says:

Re: Gear

errr…well…mmm…just saw it there. Ripper FH return for a winner, follows it up with a clean drop volley winner, then the point after hits a another FH return of serve that was almost a clean winner. Break.


jane Says:

Congrats to Fed for some crisp play, lovely movement.

Nole, too little, and TOO LATE! Pack up now and GO WIN THE Davis Cup!!!

Fed v. Rafa # ???


Kimo Says:

skeezerweezer said:

“remember when Fed could put it in another gear? Where did that go?”

I think he just found it, dude. :)


Kimo Says:

# 22, jane.


jane Says:

So interesting if you think about it: Fed has improved his return; Nadal has improved his serve ….

Should be a fascinating finale!


Kimo Says:

ROGER WAS PERFECT TODAY. I WOULDN’T CHANGE A THING.


Kimmi Says:

game set match federer. wow! did not expect this one to be so easy.

too bad for djoko..wishing him all the best in the DC final.

Eeeeeek we have FEDAL


skeezerweezer Says:

Absolutely outstanding stuff from the world #2, beating the #3 twice in the same tourney. Rafa fans got what they wanted, another shot at the GOAT. And. surely, falsehood abounds again. Fed has not ended. FedWins, again. Will it ever stop?


Kimo Says:

skeezerweezer said:

“Absolutely outstanding stuff from the world #2, beating the #3 twice in the same tourney.”

Huh? Djoko was in Rafa’s group.

But he’s now beaten him three times since the US Open.


Daniel Says:

Yeah. The FEDAL we should have for at the US Open!!


i am it Says:

King Roger does it in an easy way.
Told you so? I hate to say that. Finally Fedal finals.
Go Roger !


tennisfansince76 Says:

looking forward to Fedal tomorrow. don’t know why some people complain. its the best game in town. its like Zeus vs. Thor on some celestial tennis court. all other match ups are merely human. we should enjoy as much magic as we can for the next couple of years. maybe they can continue on the senior tour. although its always a bit of a comedown to see your favorites on the oldies circuit. the best players in their prime seem almost post human and then when you see them on the senior circuit they are all too human.


jane Says:

“The FEDAL we should have for at the US Open!” Perhaps you wouldn’t have wanted it then? With 5 sets and Rafa playing the way he was after history. That match meant so much to him. Besides Nole earned his spot, so shoulda coulda woulda kinda. Anyhow, I think Fed looks to be playing better now than he did then, and he won some events leading up to this WTF to build his confidence.


Daniel Says:

Prediction: Nadal will end the year as he began. Losing a final (to Davy in Doha). Plus Fed won YEC all times he win AO, meant to be.


steve-o Says:

A masterclass. Djokovic played well, but Federer at this level was simply too much.

More than any other player, he makes the game look absurdly simple. With his aggressive and varied game, he can preempt his opponents from playing their best tennis. They are not allowed to hit the shots they would most like to hit.

Still he can’t be so careless when given break points. Nadal will not be so generous.


Kimmi Says:

Who is the favorite tomorrow? tough one.


Gannu Says:

IF feddy bear plays like this he will thrash Rafa.. the issue is “IF” and which Fed shows up… Fed’s level drops misreably against rafa… so lets see… i am not there to watch this match.. nor i can see federer losing… i hope he wins this somehow…
Anyways fed fans – huh, madmax skeez, kimmi, daniel, contador, ben, david, sean an dall those countless fed fans hope our man wins…He is due for a win now against rafa on hard courts ;-)


blank Says:

jane, you are right there. I was rooting for Fed to lose at the USO. I didn’t want him to become a Sunday snack :-)


dari Says:

YESSSSSSSSSSSSS! Loved roger’s play today, congratulations to him. so happy he finished in two, showing a little fight from down a break.
Am ready for this nadal final. If roger plays lights out, he can win this thing! Ps, its not like this was the first time I’ve seen roger play, but boy does that man stay on top of the baseline. Lovely to see
let’s go, Rogerrrr!


tennisfansince76 Says:

re Daniel exactly. it would have been nice if Raj had taken a couple of good cuts at the MP balls he had on Djoker at the USO.


skeezerweezer Says:

Zeus vs. Thor, lol


fed is afraid Says:

congrats to rafa for winning the YEC’s


Kimmi Says:

ha-ha fed is afraid, they havent played yet you know!


Gannu Says:

and lol.. fed is afraid shows up after ages….
be very afraid be very very afraid of fed ;-)


Daniel Says:

Jane, it’s because FEDAL on US Open final is the only one missing, and now. But Next year on it will be the only INE missing.


Skorocel Says:

Well, it wasn’t without the usual/unusual hiccups, but Fed got the job done today. Overall a VERY good performance. His movement was as close as it could be to his best during these last 2-3 years, his FH looked VERY good, BH & returns too, and he also added some excellent volleys here & there… Will it be enough tomorrow? I hope it will, because he will certainly need it! ;-) Hard to believe it’s only the 4th match between Fed & Nadal in the last 2 years – yet it’s already their 18th (!) final…

As for Djoker, I can’t help but state that he really seemed like he didn’t want to win this one as badly as he normally would, but that doesn’t take anything away from Fed, who overall played really well. Good luck in the DC finals Nole!


jane Says:

I know Daniel; that’s the contest yet to be staged, slam-wise. Just saying. Rafa was on a tear and played outrageous tennis in that USO final, whereas Fed was not playing as well then as he is now. And to me Rafa looks a little more beatable. So maybe you Fed fans are better off with this scenario. Also, have to give props to Nole because he really played so well when it mattered, on the crucial points, in the USO semi, and on that day he truly did make me extremely proud. Today? Another story. Simply outplayed and also not playing well himself until the second set.


contador Says:

the problem is: federer is not afraid.

i am afraid. and my stomach can’t take another fedal.

he play magnificently today and djokovic was not there the 1st set.

but congrats to all fed fans!

this is nadal’s time though – must be realistic. he’s a beast in a big final.


jane Says:

lol contador. If Fed is not afraid that’s all that matters; you can take it! :)


sar Says:

I don’t feel bad about this.I wanted him to go home earlier. He’s won this title already,got his points, kept his ranking, beat Roddick again. He didn’t put every ounce of effort into this match and told everyone his mind and heart were at DC. Fed knew that Djok wasn’t going to put out.That’s why he said good luck at DC.

May the best man win.


Kimo Says:

Skorocel, I disagree about Djoko not wanting to win today. He was asleep in the 1st set but he played close to his best in the 2nd.

The problem with Fed vs. Rafa is that Roger almost never has a good day against him, and I’m not talking about stuff that Rafa can influence, like hitting his forehand high to Roger’s backhand. I’m talking about how Roger tends to have very low 1st serve % or shanks total sitters on his forehand. To beat Rafa, you have to have your basics in order, and then work on a strategy, which Roger has done before, but the problem is that his basics let him down a lot against Rafa.

We’ll see…But I’m optimisic. I’d say 65-35 Roger will win.


contador Says:

i believe i will have “other plans” tomorrow, jane :/

not exactly an optimist by nature here, either. realistic, i like to think.


Skorocel Says:

fed is afraid: Once again, a good one! ;-)


Daniel Says:

Well this one we have a lot at stake. If Nadal wins he will have win everything and will position himself to win AO (4 in a row plus YEC) huge unprecendent achievement.
For Fed, 5th YEC title thing Pete and Lendl, gainning more points than Nadal, 66 title and boost in confidance that he can stop Nadal, at least on a hardcourt, and show the world that even at 29 he can beat top 1, 3, 4 and 5 in the same toruney, all younger than him. Plus alugue improve in HxH with Nadal.
To which one this math matters the most?! I think Fed.


Gannu Says:

Kimo… well said.. i also feel the same way that even basics go for a toss against rafa and rafa can be relentless.. he will continuosuly pound federer’s weak backhand…

But have you guys noted – this is the first federe – nadal clash after paul annacone took as a coach.. i hope they canw atch some video tapes from murray’s match as well as earlier matches and carefully come out with a very good strategy.. ofcourse execution is the biggest challenge.. but hope paul’s wisdom helps federer in someway…


simba Says:

We have not watched Nadal whupping Roger’s a** for a while, haven’t we. I will tune in for another Nadal’s ass whupping tomorrow.


Gannu Says:

i am so surprised… look at all the nadalites coming out of their holes (rather a$$holes) to cast aspersions on federer.. sense of insecurity amongst them?


FedEnd Says:

14-7 has now become 15-7


FedEnd Says:

I am really sorry for Federer and the FEDTARDS.
Here Federer is not as lucky as he was in USO2010. Nole could not save Federer from getting embarassed.


Skorocel Says:

Kimo: I don’t know… The truth is, some of those shots which Djoker missed – they were really sloppy errors. It was like everything which he could miss he indeed missed… One would think, that, after 2 losses to Fed in a row, he would be more eager to win this one. Anyway, it’s this or that now… Hope he can win the DC finals!

As for tomorrow’s finals, well, I normally don’t like watching these FEDAL matches that much, but I’m really curious about what will happen tomorrow, since, if we look at it from Federer’s point of view, there really isn’t any excuse for the Swiss… His play in London thus far looked more than OK, he’s rested whilst Nadal has to recover from a tough 3 hr semifinal, and even the surface (which still looks a bit slow to me I have to say) should, if not favour him, then at least provide him a decent chance of beating his longtime rival… Though it’s not a Slam final (and one really has to wonder whether it’s Fed who’s the favourite tomorrow?), it’s still a big match for the Swiss as it’s virtually the only BIG tournament apart from the USO where he hasn’t lost to the Spaniard yet…


fed is afraid Says:

skorocel-aw shucks, you are too kind!!


skeezerweezer Says:

Seeing Fed so many times I will be keen to see how he starts off. Relaxed but aggressive. Movement. Very key.

The only thing I can say about this tourney is Fed has looked overall more comfortable here than Rafa. But I have learned to never underestimate the Lion.

Hope its a classic, who wins? T E N N I S


jane Says:

I wonder if Nole needs a new coach? Less of a fatherly figure, like Vajda, and more of someone who can help him evolve as a player. I feel like he hasn’t really evolved. He is still an excellent player, but he could definitely learn to volley and transition better. He could make that serve more consistent. He needs someone to push him out of his comfort zone.

I think Murray and Nole need to advertise for coaches in the off-season. Maybe Lendl for Murray (to work on the aggression and mental aspects) and who J-Mac maybe for Nole (to help with the volleying and teach him to use his emotions as fuel)?

That’d be like my dream. :)


blank Says:

Hope Murray puts what he is saying into actions in the time to come. Well done today, though he lost.

http://www.barclaysatpworldtourfinals.com/News/Tennis/2010/Tournament/London-Saturday-Murray-Reaction.aspx


jane Says:

Thanks for posting that; I like the way Murray has responded; he is very complimentary of Rafa & co.!

““I just love playing against him,” said Murray.” For me, as a sportsman, I don’t know if there’s been many better than him ever in terms of the way he conducts himself. His whole team that he works with is incredibly nice. I have a lot of respect for him.”

The amazing thing to me about Rafa is how he is continuously evolving and improving and doing what he has to do to take it to the next level or surface or whatever. Murray says in his interview “I’ve go to get better”; that’s the exact right attitude. He needs someone to help him with that though. I am not sure his mom or Corretja are enough. He did evolve quite a bit under both Gilbert and Maclagan, however.


blank Says:

jane, I love how Murray is viewing this as a positive thing. Only bodes well for him for the future.


skeezerweezer Says:

Murray

““In a match that long, I don’t think it comes over really one point. It was three hours or so,” added Murray. “I went for my shots in the tie-break. I went for a big forehand at 6-6. Missed it by a few centimetres. I went for it. So I got to be happy with that. That’s the right thing to do in those situations.”

That’s the attitude, Murray, go for it, don’t hold back if the shot is there, keep that attitude and that shot will go in sooner rather than later when you need it.


dunbar Says:

I haven’t seen any of the stats, but my impression was that Federer did not get too many free points on his serve – and therefore of course very few aces. Is this correct? That’s not so bad, save it till tomorrow.

It seemed to me entirely typical that after the glorious play in the first set, Federer should get broken straightaway. Time and again, I’ve seen Fed outclass Djokovic in a runaway first set, only for Djokovic to come back with a vengeance. He nearly did today, and one has to assume that his mind to a degree was elsewhere.

It’s not curmudgeonly to mention this, because tomorrow will be a different story, and if Federer loosens the reins only a little, Nadal will take full advantage. He wants to win just as much as Federer does, and he is without question the favourite. He has quite simply earned that right. It is up to Federer to take that right away from him, if he can.

However, of course Federer is well aware of this, and I think he will give of his best tomorrow – that is, if he wins a set, he will simply put that to the back of his mind, and start again. He notably did NOT do that today, and was fortunate to be playing a man not entirely there.

I enjoyed Federer’s comment after the match – he paid tribute to Nadal as “the best player in the world at the moment”. Not many people would have added that “at the moment”, it would sound silly. It sounds entirely appropriate when Federer says it, but it might not do so for much longer. It is good to see that Federer still believes he can successfully challenge his successor.

Mind you, words are all very well. We will see tomorrow whether Federer really believes.


Nona Says:

Hi,
I am a long time reader of tennis-x, a longer time follower of Federer, and first time commenting :)

Federer’s fighting spirt is the perfect embodiment of Theodore Roosevelt’s epic speech “Man in The Arena”. He will face his arch Nemesis tomorrow, a man who has his number, who will, more likely than not, inflict another painful defeat, albeit one that is less intense than the losses at Wimby 2008 and AO2009.

But you cannot fault his effort. He played well to come this far and put himself (as many would see it) in a losing position against Nadal. He might not emerge victorious, but he is the man in the arena.


dunbar Says:

If Nadal had lost to Murray today, he would be desolate. And having recovered from the desolation,he would be all the more determined not to allow himself to be pipped at the post again. I don’t sense that from Murray.


Pro_B Says:

Zeus vs Thor? Ummm, Technically Zeus was Thor’s father, so comic book nerd that i am, can we make it Superman vs. Thor? And, Fed FTW!


dave Says:

mem says: “dave, were you born that stupid or did you acquire stupidity from your environment or both. to win this tournment, nadal will have played the best players in the world back-to-back-to-back while andy and roger get a day off as usual. you have the audacity to say an aging roger and all roger has to do is rest and watch tv while nadal, whether he’s #1 or #2, is the one who has to always play consecutive days to win the title. i knew last sunday when roger’s group started this tournament, they were setting up so that the day-off would fall to roger. some people do know what’s going on. we’re not all ignorant. btw, he’s not an aging roger when he’s winning. i know you’re not too bright, but come up with something better than that!”

Mem, you must be the fount of smarts, so let me try to explain the facts of life to someone as smart as you: we… are… all… born… stupid.

It is monumentally stupid to believe anyone is born smart. Now here is the hard part, so listen carefully: after birth, some of us learned the intelligence needed to check our facts, learn some history and control our emotions before typing something really monumentally stupid.

On Friday RR, 24-year old Nadal beat Berdych in only 141 points (there was no pressure on Nadal to win, just get a set). On Saturday SF, Nadal beat Murray in only 223 points. On Sunday final, Nadal will play Federer. John McEnroe proclaims Nadal as the co-greatest athlete in tennis history. While I don’t agree with McEnroe’s hyperbole, you would expect such a magnificent athlete to be fit enough to compete on Sunday for at least another 3 hours.

Why? The precedent was set by the greatest tennis players in history.

For example: In 1996 Rome, on a Friday QF, the 24 year old Federer beat claycourter Almagro in 229 points. On Saturday SF, Federer beat Nalbandian in 229 points. On Sunday final, Federer nearly beat Nadal on his favourite clay surface in 353 points played over 5 sets in 5 hours 5mins (Federer squandered double matchpoint)! When reporters asked Federer whether his long matches on Friday and Saturday caused his defeat to Nadal, Federer answered like the tough athlete and champion he is: Roger said not at all, he was not tired, and it just showed him how fit he was.

In 2005 WTF final, Federer played almost 5 hours in a 5 setter against Nalbandian, despite Roger still recovering from torn ankle ligaments (torn ligaments and arthritis are medically worse than mere tendonitis)

If Nadal or his fans should be ashamed if they try to whine about his supposed fatigue like they did at Madrid 2009 (where Nadal got one walkover in an early round and only played a long match with Djokovic for only 239 points).

Now I know you are raring to tell us that Nadal played consecutive days in the 2009 Australian Open to win the title. That is fiction (even Nadal repeats this bs). Nadal played his semifinal against Verdasco on Friday 9pm in Australia, rested Saturday (he played Nintendo, shot some mini-golf, and practised ballet). He played against Federer on Sunday 4pm. Roger, meanwhile got so rusty not playing for three days that when he finally played Nadal, he hurt his back and could not serve or move well :) I kid you not.


tennisfansince76 Says:

re Pro_B sure why not. the idea is the same!


skeezerweezer Says:

Why is it always a conspiracy or an excuse when Rafa loses? If Rafa wins tomorrow none of this will be spoken ( scheduling, days off, strong draw,tired, etc, etc ). Look, he is in the final, and competing for the title. Maybe if he played at the speed of the rest of the field his matches wouldn’t last so long.

Dave brought up some interesting stats.

Being a player, it is petty to have posters come up here and say, cause a guy who is 24, in his prime, can’t handle one 2/3 set match every day? It’s a disadvantage? We used to play 2 MATCHES a day, consecutively for 2-3 days. WTF? 5 setters are a different animal…..but c’mon….just sayin…these are professional athletes…it’s almost disrespectful already…these guys rate with some of the top athletes of the world…no golfers/baseball bellys here.


mem Says:

dave,

save your sermon for Sunday! i know your kind; the big bad wolf with the big bad mouth and the big bad words! talk to me when you obtain some insight about tennis!


mem Says:

skeezer,

i’m the poster who popped up and said it; which part did you not understand? would you like for me to repeat it?

btw would you like to say something to me! out with it; don’t beat around the bush.

would it be fair for all top ten players to placed in roger’s draw just because he said to be the “greatest ever?” same applies to rafa, is it fair for him to always play consecutives matches just because he is 24 and said to be the fittest? so, what’s your point? do you ever know what you’re talking about?


skeezerweezer Says:

mem,

“btw would you like to say something to me! out with it; don’t beat around the bush”

Ok…I will.

I Love you! :-)


mem Says:

skeezer,

tell me something i don’t know!


sar Says:

Very insightful interview with Zimonjic on DC and his career. He couldn’t play singles because he didn’t have money for a coach to travel with him and he wants to get involved with the tennis federation in Serbia which unbelievably doesn’t have facilities!
http://www.barclaysatpworldtourfinals.com/News/Tennis/2010/Interviews/London-Friday-Zimonjic.aspx


Daniel Says:

Fed is playing excelent tennis winning 8 sets agaisnt top 8 players. The only thing concerning me about his game is that against Soda (his third match), he was up a break and let Soda even; today he went down a break but manage to even. I hope tomorrow he keep his strong start as he did all week to not went down a set. He was always up a break very earlier in the firts sets he played.
I can’t see his form drop dramatically, that’s why tomorrow will be close. Rafafans keep saying about Nadal having an easy match tomorrow, but apart from RG 08′ Nadal was never able to blow Fed of the court.


dave Says:

Dunbar: “Full marks to Dave for eccentricity! Murray certainly let Nadal off the hook, more than once in the 3rd set. Nadal took advantage – how is that mentally weak? Sure, he got broken and so on but a)look who was on the other side of the net and b)he is not quite match tight. Great as he has played, he is not yet the awesome player of the US Open final. Maybe that player will turn up tomorrow, although I doubt it. That player will turn up at the AO – be sure of it. Meanwhile, it is the mark of great mental strength that the player pulls through despite not being quite at his best.”

It is a tremendous talent to grade “eccentricity”, your personal eccentricity must help you assess others. Anyways, to respond to your questions: First, Nadal displayed mental weakness in allowing Murray to grab the initiative many times. Second, yes Murray was on the other side of the net, just like Murray also was when Federer crushed the Scott. Third, Nadal not quite match tight, hahahaha. It is Nadal’s choice to play 3 weeks in a row in Asia to get appearance fees, get marketing deals and perform sponsorship duties, then chose to avoid playing tournaments for the next month until WTF. My speculation is that Nadal chose to skip Paris to avoid playing the faster surface where he might lose and disrupt his rhythm. You don’t really believe his dubious excuse of the phantom shoulder tendonitis that conveniently heals before the WTF, do you? Fourth, Nadal was playing as well as he could when under pressure from Murray. Nadal was really not that awesome in the US Open — as he had a relatively easy draw (with Federer, Murray, Nalbandian, etc. all losing early) and no player really challenged him for more than one set in a match (Djokovic, Gabashvili, Istomin did it for one set).

It scares me when you claim with certainty that Nadal the Awesome One would show up at the AO next year. If Nostradamus does not talk with me, why would he talk to you in your sleep?

Now that is eccentric. Full marks to you too!!!


dunbar Says:

mem, you’re a hoot!


dave Says:

mem Says: “dave, save your sermon for Sunday! i know your kind; the big bad wolf with the big bad mouth and the big bad words! talk to me when you obtain some insight about tennis!”

Wolves do not play tennis, need insight, or give sermons. We eat up posters who don’t know what they are mumbling about.

woof, howl or whatever sound wolves make…


dave Says:

Thanks gannu, Tennis Vagabond, i am it.

As I suggested in my first post, anything could happen between Nadal and Murray, and it almost did.

Nadal’s match against Murray could and should have been won by the Scot. Nadal is a great champion, yes, but he also got a little lucky today. For all the Spaniard’s mythical mental toughness, Andy won more overall points than Rafa (114 to 109), in the second set rolled over Rafa, in the final set had a 3-0 game lead and 4-1 tiebreak lead. These lapses should not have happened if Rafa was truly mentally strong and playing his best form. Because Nadal’s physical effort is mesmerizing, people tend to overlook that since Wimbledon Nadal has been inconsistent both mentally and in form (even during some sets at the US Open). He was not able to dominate Murray, and allowed Murray to hang around, scrap with him and almost win the match.

Yes, this scrap was certainly a thrilling match, fun to see. I was rooting for Rafa to win for a Nadal-Fed final, so it was tense seeing so many opportunities for Murray to win it. If Nadal was truly dominating and mentally tough he would have rolled over Murray, the way Federer rolled over both Murray and Djokovic. Federer put such great pressure on both players that they buckled and had no answer. Federer at his best essentially beat Djokovic 6-1, 6-1 today, but donated 3 games to get a longer workout to prepare for the final.

Two different matches: one between two players who could not dominate each other was won by the player who was less mentally fragile right at the end. The other match was dominated by one player with the superior mental strength and tennis ability from start to finish, with a short walkabout in the middle..

Federer — not Nadal — is playing the best tennis seen in the entire year according to the N. 3 player Djokovic who has lost to both of them. As Djokovic said of Federer: “He was on top of his game. I think he was playing unbelievable from the first moment. He deserved to win. He was the better player today. To me, he’s maybe playing the best tennis in 2010.”

Which begs the question: If Federer is this good today, at age 29, could Roger have been better throughout 2008 to 2010 had illness, injury and family not affected his game? Absolutely.

If Federer played like today, he might have been able to win another 5 slams between 2008 to 2010. Nadal may not have won his two Wimbledons, US Open and Australian Open and Djokovic his Australian Open.

There is a lot at stake in tomorrow’s match between Federer and Nadal. Will Federer win the WTF without dropping a set to bookend 2010 with great victories? Or will Nadal win the WTF to complete the third or fourth best year in tennis over the last decade (behind Federer’s 2006, 2007 and 2004 years)? Nadal knows that a crushing loss to Federer tomorrow at this prestigious sub-Slam will possibly tarnish the perception of his dominance of 2010, which is really based on 3.5 hot months (mid April to early July as well as early September) outside of which Nadal was not the best form player.


Nina Says:

Same old story.
I’m so tired of Murray and Novak losing. So tired.

Not caring much for the final’s outcome, but I hope it’s a great match.

Jane: Yeah, I strongly think Djoko needs another coach!!!


simba Says:

Dave,

I am dying to see if he could turn on that kind of brilliant tennis against Nadal. The answer is emphatic NO. It is useless to judge his performance against other players and expect it to translate into one against Nadal. He twice bagelled Del Potro in one SF, had extra day of rest while Nadal played a gruelling 5-set against Verdasco. Yet, Nadal beat him in 5-set in the Final. The smart money will always be with Nadal.


blank Says:

Off-topic: I stumbled across this old article while looking for something else. Thought I’d share.

Djokovic could have played for Great Britain!!

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/tennis/article6876924.ece


guy Says:

djoker is wrong, the best tennis this year was played by nadal at monte carlo where he destroyed everybody like they were juniors.


van orten Says:

fed plays like he played today and we have a match tomorrow ..his serve and forehand must be on


sar Says:

Vajda could coach Djole Djokovic but who is Nole going to get?


jane Says:

I thought Djoko meant “[his as in Fed's] best tennis in 2010″ in that quotation, i.e., that that was the best Fed has played this year, and Nole’d be speaking from his own experience against Fed since it was Nole’s most lopsided loss against him this year – and they played at least 5 times this year. I don’t think Nole meant that Fed’s played the best tennis of all the players in 2010. That really would not make sense since Nadal has won 3 of the 4 slams.


Nina Says:

blank

Yeah, I had read it some time ago. Imagine that. Nole playing for GB in Davis Cup. Surreal.


dunbar Says:

dave

ah, now there is a distinction to be drawn between being generally eccentric (this I may be, I don’t know – I’ve been called a lot worse)and expressing a specific eccentric opinion. I think most people would regard the idea that Nadal is not mentally tough as decidedly odd, to say the least. They may all be wrong, of course, having been subjected to some kind of universal hallucinatory gas – you never know!

May I respond to your points under:first, etc.
first: what d’you mean, Nadal “allowed Murray to grab the iniative many times”? Murray is a great player, one of the 2 or 3 most gifted players in the world. He is perfectly capable of creating his own iniative.

second: Federer crushed Murray. Sure, Murray’s inconsistency is well known, a source of continual heartache to those who love him. Nobody quite knows why – but nobody doubts, either, that on his day, Murray is a match for anybody, including Federer. Today was such a day.

third: your objections to the idea that Nadal is not quite matchtight are irrelevant. The decisions he made, for instance to play on the Asian tour, may be immoral, unwise and so on – I don’t want to get into that one, because it is utterly beside the point. If he is not matchtight, it is his fault? Maybe, maybe not (depends on whether the shoulder injury was genuine or not) but it makes no difference to my point. For whatever reasons (and maybe he is culpable), he is not quite matchtight. “My speculation is that Nadal chose to skip Paris to avoid playing the faster surface where he might lose and disrupt his rhythm”. This may or may not be true, I don’t know – still doesn’t matter. We are not grading Nadal morally, we are inquiring whether he is match tight or not. A neutral question (difficult to determine though, granted).

4th: “Nadal was playing as well as he could when under pressure from Murray”. Forgive me, but I’m not sure what your point is. I should have thought that was one up to me, not to you. But perhaps I have missed something? “Nadal was not really that awesome in the US Open”. Ah, now this is tricky territory. I know what you mean. There is not a lot to go on. But still, let’s have a go:”he had a relatively easy draw (with Federer, Murray, Nalbandian, etc. all losing early) and no player really challenged him for more than one set in a match (Djokovic, Gabashvili, Istomin did it for one set).”

Nalbandian was a very great player – no longer, I fear, and I don’t think he would have posed much of a problem for Nadal. Murray departing was indeed a serious piece of good fortune for Nadal, but in the light of your other comments on Murray, are you sure you want to claim this? But anyway, granted. But your last point – that nobody really challenged him for more than a set – strikes me as an own goal. There is a reason, is there not, why this was so. As for the loss of Federer, it is difficult to argue that Djokovic was a less worthy opponent for Nadal than Federer, who was generally poor against the Serb and got as close as he did only because he, too, is a great warrior. There is no doubt about that.

But the way Nadal progressively dismantled Djokovic, a great player on his best surface, was deeply impressive, as was Nadal’s accomodation to fast hard court – I don’t see how this can be denied. Still, it is true, the competition was not great, and we’ll have a better idea of how good Nadal is on fast hard over the coming year.

About the AO 2011. Alright, I’ll grant you that one. Of course, I have no idea. But think how badly Nadal wants it – the unique (these days) calendar slam – and the huge pressure which will therefore be on him. Let us see whether he can rise to it, or succombs. Personally, I hope the latter – I want Federer to win. But I suspect the former, mainly because of Nadal’s phenomenal competitive nature.


Paradox Says:

Respect for both Rafa and Roger for making tennis a winner!.I wish fans of both players enjoy the tennis and stop bad mouthing.


blank Says:

True Nina. Djokovic & Murray playing DC, Djokovic succumbing to the British media pressure etc … Surreal indeed!


dunbar Says:

“Federer at his best essentially beat Djokovic 6-1, 6-1 today, but donated 3 games to get a longer workout to prepare for the final.” – Dave. Tongue in cheek, presumably? Otherwise, well – eccentric, let us say?

“To me, he’s maybe playing the best tennis in 2010.”
jane, it certainly reads like:”Fed’s played the best tennis of all the players in 2010.”
” That really would not make sense since Nadal has won 3 of the 4 slams.” I think that’s a non-sequitor. I remember Richie Benaud (Australian captain and subsequent commentator) once remarked that Ted Dexter’s score of 76 against Australia was one of the most outstanding, if not the most outstanding, displays of batting prowess he had ever witnessed. And this, despite the fact that England lost – partly because of the foolhardy way Dexter threw away his wicket – and also a score of 76 is not huge, by any means, obviously not a century and so on. But it was an isolated gem. In this sense, you could certainly argue that the most scintillating tennis played all year occured in one particular match, and the player responsible was not the man who got 3 slams.

That is not a contradiction. Which doesn’t mean that a)Djokovic meant that or b)if he did, that he was right.


Daniel Says:

Nadal winning last 3 Slams made wonders to Fed game. He realise that if he wants to be regarded as the GOAT it’s time to sweat his shirt, not that he didn’t before, but even more now on his last years.
If we go by points wise, Fed is the best player since Wimby and best player on Hard courts all year, but what counts is winning the big ones and if Nadal wins tomorrow He would have won US open and YEC, Fed AO. If Fed wins tomorrow the tone will be set for 2011, he will carry the momentum.
My poins is once again Fed showed that he can play all year, and will be motivated for next year.
Nadal showed that he can selective put himself in position to excell to the occasion. His game grew in US Open and in this tourney. He learned (as Fed did for years) how to peak at the right time in different patches of the season, this is his most remarkable improvement.

The fire Fed needed to keep playing great is Nadal’s ascension, and the clash which will follows now that history is being written will be awesome for the next 2 years or so!


Daniel Says:

guy

“djoker is wrong, the best tennis this year was played by nadal at monte carlo where he destroyed everybody like they were juniors.”

Totally agree. This was the turning point in Nadal’s career.


contador Says:

Nona-

thank you for your post @ 6:27pm, 11/27. and welcome.


jane Says:

Nina, I am tired too, just trying to be positive in light of it all; at least they got to the semis, and at least Murray made of match of it.

dunbar, you may be right as Nole had this to say after the US Open:

Federer “is still playing as one of the best players in the world,” Djokovic said. “The other hand, you have Nadal who is just proving each day, each year, that he’s getting better. That’s what’s so frustrating. He’s getting better each time you play him.”

But I still don’t think Fed played the best tennis throughout 2010, even if that’s what Nole meant. There were times he did, like at the AO, but during the clay and grass season he wasn’t at his best, imo. Rafa was playing the best tennis then, beating the players who beat Fed in straight sets, almost easy slam finals. I agree with the way Daniel puts it “If we go by points wise, Fed is the best player since Wimby and best player on Hard courts all year, ” However, I do take your point dunbar when you say this “in this sense, you could certainly argue that the most scintillating tennis played all year occured in one particular match, and the player responsible was not the man who got 3 slams.” Most wins doesn’t always denote best tennis, hence the “it doesn’t follow” correction. I get it and concede that.


dunbar Says:

Daniel
What I find remarkable is that time and again some of us – even you, though nowhere near as much as me – have written Federer off in the sense of challenging to be the best in the world, and yet still there he is, posing a realistic challenge. It is quite extraordinary.

I have become so dazed by the way Nadal has mastered all the surfaces and seems to have got the number of Federer, that I can barely conceive of him (Nadal)not winning tomorrow – even though I have to admit Federer’s tennis is right up there with Nadal’s right now.

If Federer does win tomorrow, you are right, it sets the tone for a tremendous rivalry next year. Right now, the “rivalry” is largely one to be gauged in terms of historical perspective – it’s not alive. But it could spring to life again! How unexpected.


dunbar Says:

ah, I think we are at cross purposes, jane. “But I still don’t think Fed played the best tennis throughout 2010, even if that’s what Nole meant”. No, certainly Fed didn’t play the best tennis throughout 2010, and I am sure Nole was only referring to the match he had just played with Federer.


dunbar Says:

b.t.w. – mem, I hope you didn’t take my small post to you the wrong way, it occurs to me you may have thought it sarcastically intended. Not at all. I really do think your posts are funny, and I enjoy reading them – you don’t post enough. I don’t really agree with you about the day off factor, but so what. Keep posting – besides, we need to keep Skeezer happy! good night.


FedEnd Says:

Federer’s win over Nole is a christmas gift for Rafa.
Rafa’s hardcourt H2H against Federer is 4-3.


i am it Says:

dave and dunbar,
I like the feisty but respectful discussion that you two are having. Pleased with the softness dunbar neutralizes the fire of Dave’s passionate questions, though I may often side with dave’s views.

My sincere compliment for both.


FedEnd Says:

Fedfans are complimenting Rafa for what he is and that doesnt go well with the FEDTARDS.
Interesting !!!!


dunbar Says:

Thankyou, i am it – a pleasant surprise.


i am it Says:

dunbar,
Does “surprise” diminish or contaminate the “pleasant” you felt when you express it as such? I am sure that is not the case but it allows that mis-reading. Is truth suspect here?
Don’t mean to spin your head. I am just talking gibberish.
There used to be a couple of good Aussie posters here. You don’t happen to know JCF and Giner, do you?

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