Roanic Roughs Up Verdasco (Again) in Memphis; Roddick, Del Potro Return Today
by Sean Randall | February 17th, 2011, 9:39 am

If Milos Raonic wasn’t in Fernando Verdasco’s head after the San Jose final, I’m betting this morning he is. Last night Roanic won his second straight cliffhanger over the frustrated Verdasco beating the Spaniard 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(5) in the first round of Memphis.

On Sunday it was two tiebreakers Raonic needed, on Wednesday he showed even more mental toughness pulling it out in a third set tiebreak.

“It’s a different stadium and different conditions, so you never know if it will suit you or not,” said the unfazed Raonic. “Fernando is a player who likes rhythm, especially early in a match, and I like to take that away. I think that’s my strength. There are some things I can improve on but I can’t be dissatisfied.

“Last week gave me a lot of confidence, and confidence makes all the little things go easier. I was happy with the outcome.”

I didn’t see the match – few did – but this is starting to look Roddick-esqe: Crush serves, crush forehands, keep points short, force tiebreaks and win. Roddick use to do that back in the day, Roanic, who has much more game now than the American did then, is following in those footsteps. The 20-year-old Canadian is 9-1 on the season (14-3 career!) in breakers and 3-0 against Mr. Top 10 Verdasco!

If Milos can hold serve he seems to have that unteachable edge in the breakers. And that’s a nice asset to have.

As for the stats, Raonic finished with 16 aces, did get broken once in just two break chances faced and perhaps most encouragingly he had 10 opportunities to break Vedasco’s serve, although he only broke once. But the fact that he was getting into Fernando’s service games (remember on Sunday he had no break chances) is very positive sign. I thought going in Fernando with all his game and experience would get a better read on Milos’s serve on a second try, but in fact it turned out to the be the other way around!

“He was luckier than me in the tie-break,” Verdasco said. “He hit the line at 5-5 with the return and then he had big options to win the match. In San Jose he tried to make the points really quick, if I managed to return the serve he went to the net, like he did today a lot of times. Today it was tough to respond because he’s big and when he goes to the net you don’t really have a lot of space.”

He also said, “For me that’s not a real match in tennis. I hope to play soon against him in clay court to show him what it is to play tennis, and play rallies, and run, and not only serve.”

Fernando, how that’s 6-2 first set tiebreak lead in that San Jose final tasting? He’s in your head and he’ll probably beat you on clay, too.

Raonic now gets Radek Stepanek early this afternoon at 12:30pm ET (quite a fast turnaround from last night!). Stepanek will offer a completely different challenge for Raonic than Verdasco. But with his power the match is really on Raonic’s racquet.

Also today, fresh off an impressive 6-4, 6-3 win over 2010 finalist John Isner, Juan Martin Del Potro is on against the sneaky Ivan Dodig. Delpo is really getting back in form and he’s doing it much quicker than I thought after he broke Isner three times last night.

“It was nice because he is one of the best players on this kind of court here in the States,” said Delpo. “I got a little confidence after San Jose, but every week for me is very tough. When you have been out of competition for a long time with injury, it is difficult to come back, especially if you are not seeded. Now I need time on the court and to play a lot of matches, try and improve my game, and hope to be in good shape for the second part of the season.”

Dodig, however, should not be overlooked. The Croat was the only player to take a set off of Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open and he just won the indoor title Zagreb.

Tonight at 8pm ET, Andy Roddick will be out for revenge against Janko Tipsarevic. It was Janko who knocked out Roddick at the US Open last year. Can he do it again and get his third straight victory over Andy? I give Roddick the edge but more than possible. Sam Querrey and Lleyton Hewitt bookend play today on Stadium court.

And good news, matches will finally have camera coverage starting today so there should be some live streaming available.

In Marseille, Tomas Berdych, Robin Soderling and Gilles Simon are all on court. Simon plays Youhzny in a maybe the best match there.

And on clay in Buenos Aires, David Nalbandian and Nicolas Almagro are featured.


STADIUM start 10:00 am
[5] S Querrey (USA) vs B Dabul (ARG) – ATP
Not Before 11:30 AM
R Stepanek (CZE) vs [WC] M Raonic (CAN) – ATP
[Q] A Glatch (USA) vs M Rybarikova (SVK) – WTA
Not Before 2:00 PM
I Dodig (CRO) vs [WC] J Del Potro (ARG) – ATP
Not Before 7:00 PM
[1] A Roddick (USA) vs J Tipsarevic (SRB) – ATP
A Mannarino (FRA) vs L Hewitt (AUS) – ATP

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Roddick X-Its Memphis, Roanic Stays Hots; Del Potro, Davydenko Meet In Marseille
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67 Comments for Roanic Roughs Up Verdasco (Again) in Memphis; Roddick, Del Potro Return Today

stu Says:

“For me that’s not a real match in tennis. I hope to play soon against him in clay court to show him what it is to play tennis, and play rallies, and run, and not only serve.”

Oh noes. Don’t. provide. fodder. It will only entrench him deeper within your head.

Skeezerweezer Says:


Yeah that was one sh!tty quote by Verdasco, he needs to lay off the hot sauce.

dari Says:

OMG, nando is being such a b¡+*h with that quote. Haha tension built up quick in this one!

Tennis Vagabond Says:

What a crybaby! Be careful Tabasco, don’t want your mascara to run.

madmax Says:

no, I think verdasco is just trying to keep upbeat. If he kept saying over and over that Raonic was a better player, he will convince himself of the same – Ranoic is on a roll, doing really well, but Verdasco has form. I completely understand why he is saying this. He has to put out the warning signs. And he probably will beat him next time…no one beats Verdy 3 times in a row!!!!!!

dari Says:

Looks like we’re getting live streams back today. Hope delpo can get past dodig and heck milos past steps, too!

jane Says:

ha ha – credit to Verdasco; he’s beating his chest and putting out a challenge to Milos “let’s see how you can play on clay!” Well, he’d better be careful for what he wishes. If Madrid, for example, is playing fast like it has been the last year or two, Nando could lose to him again.

But I don’t think with Raonic (who is presently up 3-love on Steps) it is only about the serve. He had 16 aces over 3 sets; that is nowhere near what Karlovic or Isner sometimes produce. And Nando himself had 12 aces. Also if you look at the stats, overall, Raonic did better in the *returning* category, with 24% first serves and 43% second serves returned. Nando had 17% and 46% respectively, so they were very close in this category too. To say “that’s not tennis” is the overstatement. But to challenge him on clay, where his power game might not be as effective, fine! Just remember Nando – clay, grass or hard. It is all “tennis”! :)

Raonic may not get by Steps, in all honesty; it’s a quick turn around for him to go from playing last night to this morning almost first thing, not to mention coming off his first ATP win and taking the red-eye from San Jose to Memphis. I will not be surprised if he loses this match – ah, yep, Steps just got one break back. He’s serving now at 1-3.

BTW, on a different topic, I see Querrey won again! That’s two in a row – is that a first for the 2011 season? Somehow, I think so!!

jane Says:

Yep, the first time Querrey has won two matches back-to-back at an event. I think he won here last year, if I am not mistaken, so he has a lot to defend.

Didn’t know Soda was playing in France this week, as are Cilic and Berdy.

Schiavone, Azarenka, and Zvonareva all fell in Dubai. JJ’s is in the third set now.

jane Says:

Yep, Steps wins second set tiebreak 12-10! Is this where/when Milos fades? Or will he get a second wind?

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Awesome play in that tiebreak, terrific to see two guys who don’t flinch in the pressure.

dari Says:

ohhhh, so this is what memphis looks like. so empty, shame. if milos pulls this out, i will be very impressed. go milos!

jane Says:

This is a match where Milos has needed his big serve; he is up to 37 aces!!! But it’s still not in the bag — third set tiebreak! Steps is such a crafty player, who does an excellent job of absorbing power and thwarting rhythm. In some ways, he’s the perfect foe for Milos. It’s tough to say who will win here, not much separating these two (well, other than those 37 aces! ;-)).

Hmmm … 0-3 to Milos, and now it’s his serve … can he keep momentum going …. drumroll…

jane Says:

0-6 to Milos!

jane Says:

Milos!!!!! Keeps. it. going. He wins the third set tiebreak 7-1, and finishes with his 38th ace. This was a much different match than versus Nando. Today, I feel, it was Milos’ serve that kept him going.

dari Says:

kid don’t quit. milos through again! 38 aces. great mental match to come through. is this some incredible mojo/luck or is he just real good? still not seen him play a nadal, fed, murray,djoko, sod. that will answer more questions.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Someone is going to punish that backhand of his, but it will have to be one of the elite. I think Milos is right now at the Ferrer/ Berdych level- ahead of Roddic and Verdasco but still behind Soderling and Murray…
Yet even that- what an incredible thing to say for a guy who has STILL not gotten main draw entries to any ATP events!
His tiebreak record is absolutely tremendous, which indicates absolute nerves of steel.

dari Says:

but that’s the beauty of youth ,tv. he’s got so much time to work on that backhand. and still hits a couple of winners off of it even in its poor condition. im looking too far ahead to wimbledon, has he ever played on grass?

jane Says:

Agree with the nerves-of-steel and backhand comments. I would add that he is a fighter, who doesn’t like to lose and won’t capitulate, and that is absolutely necessary to rise to the top.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

I don’t think the backhand is weak, but its totally erratic. Similar to Fed’s, though with Fed we’re talking about a much higher level. Only the absolute top players can make Fed’s backhand appear erratic, whereas with Milos its just… erratic.

His forehand meanwhile can do everything, his net game is top drawer, his movement is probably better than Soderling’s, and his serve has to be up there with Ivo, Rog and ROddick.

He’s not at the level Roddick was when he was #1, but he’s not far off and with more potential because of his net game.

Gordo Says:

And remember, 2 months ago he was only 19.

Kendrick is next up. It will be interesting to see how Raonic plays a player ranked lower than he. :)

By the way, and this is a bit obscure, the other night Raonic was a guest on Sportsnet – a Canadian Sports network, and they asked him – in a Eastern European accent – to mimic the Tennis pro “Milos” from the Seinfeld episode “The Comeback” where Jerry tanks against the opponent who joyfully shouts out, “Another game for Milos!!!” Being a good sport, Raonic did it, though if I was his publicist I would advise againt him continuing to grant further requests of this nature.

Anyway – the Canadian is enjoying a meteoric rise. He will be fun to watch until he beats Rafa or Fed, then a host of fans in here will get just as bitchy as Verdasco did in his post game interview.

dari Says:

i will have to see if there is a clip for that gordo, lol!

if raonic beats roger, like tomorrow, i could get bitchy, but if its months and months down the line, i’ll be cool. and if its at wimbledon, then it will get bitchy.

leo vixen Says:

@madmax. Check Verdasco’s H2H against Nadal.

dari Says:

speaking of nadal, you know what, raonic was on the no-name young canadian doubles team that took out nadal and djoko in canada in august. small world.

TC Says:

Wow – Simon owns Davydenko and Youzhny owns Simon. What a merry-go-round it is.

Some nice comebacks for Acasuso and Tursunov – couple of old pros if ever there were.

dari Says:

well delpo won first set with one break off dodig, held on when dodig had a few bp’s even. looking ok.

Kimmi Says:

Meelosh!! the tie breaker man.

leo vixen – is that to get back at madmax on noone beat verdasco 3 times? ha ha

is it 10 – 0 with nadal? what about roger?

Kimmi Says:

delpo almost home…go delpo

jane Says:

Delpo is playing doubles, too, with Steps!

Kimmi Says:

dari – here attached you can see the clip gordo is talking about. Great interview!

see top right

Kimmi Says:

roddick with early break!

Kimmi Says:

roddick is hot, tipsy not so much!

bread stick

jane Says:

I am not watching Kimmi but in a way I am not surprised. Tipsy likes to win the BIG matches and he brings his best game when he gets to play on center court at a slam. This is the first time he is playing Andy in a non-slam event and on American soil, so I expected Andy to win; however, I am surprised at how easily Roddick’s beating Tipsy. Cannot watch at the moment though.

Kimmi Says:

first set went too fast. tipsy was all over the place. UE, double faults on break point etc he called the trainer, so it looks like he has some kind of a problem.

roddick has been steady, aggressive but still didnt have to do too much.

second set is a little closer i see..

Kimmi Says:

tipsy struggles to hold while roddick cruising in his games.

Kimmi Says:

suddenly from nowhere..tipsy has 0-40 on roddick serve

and he breaks! “gulp”

Roodick mad with a call

Kimmi Says:

roddick still mad! roddick needs to move on. lets play now a-rod

jane Says:

Oh Kimmi, thanks for the play-by-play: wish I could watch! What stream are you using?

Kimmi Says:

roddick breaks, back on serve!

Kimmi Says:

i’m using tennistv jane. tipsy missed his chances, roddick fighting to win in 2

jane Says:

Rod was down 2-5 and now it is 5 all. Is he channeling his anger?

Kimmi Says:

i think roddick serve is coming back. he is hotting his spots well.

second set tie break

big server adv?

Kimmi Says:

tipsy get a mini breaks and then gives it right back..back hand to the net

3-2 tipsy – back on serve

jane Says:

By just watching the scores. it looks like Tipsy can’t hold a lead in this set – breaks, mini breaks, whatever, Roddick always gets them back! I think Roddick will win this one in straights. Tipsy just barely hanging on by fingernails.

Kimmi Says:

tipsy another mini break, great FH

4-3 tipsy

second serve

haha and then give it right back

roddick fighting!

dari Says:

Tipsy v roddick is a really frustrating matchup. You don’t know if roddick will be flat/offensively ineffective, or if tipsy will melt down.

Kimmi Says:

crunch time 5-5

bad miss for tipsy. a lazy BH to the net.

match point roddick

big serve from tipsy to save it…changing ends

Kimmi Says:

tipsy with big FH to force the error.
7-6 tipsy..set point.

roddick went behind tipsy..great shot


jane Says:

8-7 another set point. 8 all, Tipsy can’t capitalize, or Roddick won’t let him, lol.

Kimmi Says:

Roddick is mad..FH just missed the side line. thru is raquet..NO NO NO! he says. ump no overrule

8-7 tipsy.. set point

hahahaha tipsy going for too much. missed both points.

roddick match point

Long rally..everybody waiting for the error..

tipsy with the error

game set match roddick

Kimmi Says:

Roodick giving it to the umpire..not happy!let he is happy with his win tonight :)

Kimmi Says:

s/b lets hope he is happy with the win tonight.

lots of typos jane..hope you got some of it!

dari Says:

I did not enjoy that match, but glad roddick got the win!

Kimmi Says:

yap dari, most important points were lost rather than won. tipsy had so many chances to close out the 2ns set, just couldnt do it.

i am sure roddick will be happy to win this..he had some tough loses against tipsy.

dari Says:

Thx, kimmi for that milos interview clip. That was quite the rapid fire. And i cannot believe he did the milos thing with the accent like that. Gordo is right, publicity should advise against it in the future!

M Says:

Thank you, Kimmi. Go A-Rod! A shame he and Polito are in the same half. I’d rather see them face each other in the final.

contador Says:

i’m dying here….no streaming for me this week :/

sounds like i missed some great tennis. thanks for commentary guys!

GO delPo! (very conflicted) i like milos too but hope polito pulls off at least getting to the final.

sar Says:

We saw the Djokovic/Dodig match live in Australia. This guy is like the energizer bunny. Nole had fits playing him.

Just got back last night from Sydney. Had a very nice time at the AO. Was unable to see the semi or final but the experience was wonderful. It was nice to see the matches in real time for a change.

Gregoire Gentil Says:

Scary defeat for Azarenka against Pennatta in Dubai. She was two breaks up in the third (4/1) and she managed to lose the last five games. Twice that Pennatta is doing it to Azarenka after the women double final at the Australia Open. Ugly :-(

Gregoire Gentil Says:

Azarenka had a super beautiful dress at the player party. She beat all other girls but not on court!

Gregoire Gentil Says:

Big day for Wozniacki tomorrow: #1 could be back :-)

Gregoire Gentil Says:

I just read that Azarenka mum was a fashion designer. Everything explained! I start to divert.

jane Says:

Kimmi, yes thanks for the commentary, it was great. Hoping Roddick and Delpo win their next matches so we can see them clash in the semis, and am hoping for Milos and Sam in the semis on the other side. After that, I don’t care who wins or loses as like all those players! :)

dari Says:

sar, welcome back! If you’ve been down under this long, I guess it will be a while till you’re back on normal sleep schedule. Hope you had lots of fun!

Dan Martin Says:

Kind of funny that it is not real tennis…. many players have used that style over the decades. Maybe not with a 140 mph serve, but still that is a dumb comment.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Does Roddick ever have a match without a temper tantrum?

jane Says:

Cilic beat Berdych. Soda is about to win his match. Tsonga and Melzer also still around in France: could be good semis there too! Maybe even a Soda/Tsonga rematch in the finals?

Gregoire, does Woz get back number 1 now?

sar, welcome back! Check out the Nole video Tom G posted; you will like it.

jane Says:

JJ beat Stosur in what looks like a tight 3 setter. I think she will face Woz next.

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