Federer, Djokovic Coast Early in Dubai; Roanic Pulls from Acapulco
by Staff | February 22nd, 2011, 6:42 pm
  • 70 Comments

Top seeds Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic put up identical 6-3, 6-3 scorelines in their opening round matches today in Dubai. Federer, a four time Dubai winner, breezed past Somdev Devvarman while the defending champion Djokovic defeated Michael Llodra.

“I’ve had some tough ones over the years here actually in the early round,” Fed said. “That’s why I don’t judge my first rounds too harshly or whatever. It’s about coming through and giving yourself a second chance the next day and then kind of move on in the draw. All in all, I think the result is fair. I was able to play aggressive and serve well when I had to, and it was a decent match.”

Said Djokovic who has won all eight matches this year, “I’m happy with the performance today. I think he didn’t serve as well and as fast as our last match in Paris a couple of months back. But still, I was managing to return a lot of balls back and making him play an extra shot. I think I made a lot of returns in. That’s what made I think the difference.”

Also today, Frenchman Gilles Simon averted a eighth straight loss to Mikhail Youhzny by beating the Russian 6-3, 7-5. And Marcos Baghdatis had to retire to Andrey Golubev due to a fever which has been hitting some of the players this week.

Among the big matches tomorrow, Federer plays Marcel Granollers, Djokovic meets Feliciano Lopez and Tomas Berdych squares off against Nikolay Davydenko.

Tonight in Delray Beach, Juan Martin Del Potro resumes his return to tennis against 20-year-old Richard Berankis.

Following a busy indoor schedule which saw him win his maiden title in San Jose and reach the final in Memphis Sunday, Milos Raonic has elected to withdraw from the clay court Acapulco event today. The big-serving 20-year-old Canadian cited a sore shoulder as the reason.

“Pulled out of acapulco, its too bad I was really looking forward to the tournament it is a really nice tournament,” Raonic tweeted today. “I am here in acapulco and I am going to enjoy the sun and water and some R&R “.

Raonic is already in Mexico for Canada’s upcoming Davis Cup tie there.

Former Top 10 Mario will officially announce his retirement in a press conference tomorrow in his hometown of Split, Croatia. The 26-year-old who has endured numerous injuries will continue to practice law in Croatia.

DUBAI WEDNESDAY SCHEDULE

CENTRE COURT start 2:00 pm
R Gasquet (FRA) vs [Q] S Bubka (UKR)
N Davydenko (RUS) vs [3] T Berdych (CZE)

Not Before 7:00 PM
F Lopez (ESP) vs [2] N Djokovic (SRB)
[1] R Federer (SUI) vs M Granollers (ESP)

COURT 1 start 2:00 pm
A Golubev (KAZ) vs F Mayer (GER)
P Kohlschreiber (GER) vs P Petzschner (GER)
A Golubev (KAZ) / A Seppi (ITA) vs [3] M Llodra (FRA) / N Zimonjic (SRB)

Not Before 5:00 PM
J Nieminen (FIN) / V Troicki (SRB) vs R Bopanna (IND) / A Qureshi (PAK) – Possible Court Change

COURT 3 start 3:00 pm
S Stakhovsky (UKR) vs [8] E Gulbis (LAT)


Also Check Out:
Lung Infection Forces Federer Out of Dubai
For The Second Straight Year Victoria Azarenka Withdraws From Dubai
Wrist Injury Knocks Andy Murray Out of Dubai; Loses Water Sponsor
Victoria Azarenka Withdraws From Dubai; Ankle Injuries All The Rage On The WTA
Rafael Nadal Withdraws from Paris Masters

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70 Comments for Federer, Djokovic Coast Early in Dubai; Roanic Pulls from Acapulco

Wade Says:

Dam Ancic Retires:( Poor bloke he was such a talent before all this injury and sickness kept creeping in


Kimmi Says:

delpo beats berankis, easily! keep going delpo..


Cherry Says:

I really like Federer’s attitude! He’s very talented but he keeps himself grounded at all times. http://www.tennisround.com


jane Says:

Come on Nole – get that serve working, that return firing. He seems to be annoyed a little by the serving shoulder (ostensibly the reason he pulled out of Rotterdamn). F-Lo playing well at the moment; thought this one might be tough – he’s been in the finals here before. When did F-Lo’s hair get so long again!?


Duro Says:

Worse set of the year for Novak…


stu Says:

what’s his problem? shoulder? or just an off-day? he served very well in the first but I have not been watching the second…


stu Says:

Break, make it quick now, Nole!


jane Says:

stu it’s the opposite for me; I tuned in at the beginning of the second set, during which Djoko wasn’t getting in hardly any first serves. The commentators noted that he kept rubbing/moving that serving shoulder. But it wasn’t just Nole dropping level. F-Lo deserves some credit, too, as he was “zoning” somewhat, with nearly everything going in, etc. Djoko had some looks at second serves that he didn’t capitalize on however. Usually he’d return those better. He’ll have to be careful here. Lots and lots of lets from F-Lo. He isn’t serving with a lot of margin, which may explain the difficulty of returning?


stu Says:

Looks like all is right with the world again, jane…altho the stats do show that Nole is having an uncharacteristically hard time returning F-Lo’s first serve…hope he isn’t exposing vulnerabilities in Nole’s game, coz T-Bird is sure to be watching!


mat4 Says:

Can Nole make a smash?


jane Says:

Yep – Nole has a tough draw, with Llodra (not an easy first round), then F-lo (former finalist), and potentially Berdy next, who just took out Davy!

BUT – let’s not get ahead of ourselves. He needs to hold and get through this… facing 2 break points.

Frankly, don’t much care about whether he wins or loses here, more concerning to me is that Nole may have an injury that could spoil momentum. He has been so lucky, with virtually no injuries so far.

Yep, broken back. :(


mat4 Says:

I watched the first set, and it looks like a complete different match. Djokovic was playing well, trying to go more often to the net, serving well, too. But this… something is happening.


mat4 Says:

And FL is somebody you can go – you have to go – to the net, playing that slow and high BH slice.


stu Says:

skysports is suddenly on Nole’s side. “intangibles” “champions’ mentality” “fiercely competitive as ever” …aren’t these the same guys who were dissing him a couple of years ago?


mat4 Says:

And another break!


stu Says:

bad shot selection, bad timing when he comes in…what’s going on?


jane Says:

stu, I always thought the Brit commentators were supportive of Djoko overall. It was some other ones who were more outspoken.

But he is a fighter, imo. Some people don’t think this about him, which is fine, but that article tennis coach posted the other day reiterates it.


mat4 Says:

Jane, could you give me the link? Thanks in advance.


jane Says:

mat4, yes, give me a few minutes, but will post it shortly…

woot Nole!


Duro Says:

Very, very worrying… Not looking good at all for the rest of the tournament.


mat4 Says:

It was just a bad day. But, have you noticed he served and volleyed a few times in the first set?


mat4 Says:

Thank you again, Jane. Read it already in french. Mouratoglou expressed such an opinion a few times already. There was an excellent article from Cheryl Murray about Djokovic, on tennistalk(.com), where she pointed to the obvious: you need a lot of courage to lose against Nadal on clay week in week out, and to try again and believe you can do it.


jane Says:

Oh I will look for that one mat4, but agree, most definitely. Fed and Djoko have played close to the same amount of times versus Nadal on clay. Has to be one of the top frustrating things in tennis!


skeezerweezer Says:

Fed up a break looking good….

Who is Cheryl Murray?


dari Says:

Federer having a good day so far, one of those days he gets to show his variety- and whoa, nice forehand off a high loopy ball.from granollers! Oops, fed couldn’t break.


dari Says:

Oh, Geeze probably another first for fed. He serves, thinks it out, but its not called. Plays the point a little bit slow reaction because he thought serve was out and loses point. Challenges the call that his serve was in, and WINS the challenge. Cool.


jane Says:

Just looked at the draw: Berdych isn’t next for Nole. First he has to get past the winner of Golubev and Mayer. Golubev actually took a set from Nole at the Hopman, but it was Djoko’s first match after the break. He’s never played Mayer, who can be tricky. Florian has beaten some good players this year: Cilic, Delpo, Davy, Tomic, Berankis.


stu Says:

He meets Mayer next, jane. And look on the bright side – Mayer has been beaten by F-Lo, Berrer, Nishikori, Troicki and Steps this year. Should be do-able for Nole methinks :)


dari Says:

Three highlight reel shots from fed to go up 0-40 on granollers serve, then some misses for marcel to hold that game. C’est la vie du fed!


dari Says:

Nice couple points from.marcel. showing fed hes not the only one who can use a little variety to set one up


grendel Says:

oh, come on. You can’t manufacture excitement out of nothing. It’s easy pickings for both Federer and Djokovic in next round. b.t.w. How could anyone not think Djokovic is a fighter? yes, once or twice he went away, notably against Safin at Wimbledon – but that was in the past. He is now a formidable warrior, imo up there with Nadal and Federer.


jane Says:

Thanks for clarifying stu.


jane Says:

grendel, no need to scold with the “oh come on” – I was not trying to “manufacture” anything. I wrote what I felt. Nole wasn’t his best today and Florian has been playing well thus far this year. I do hope that it is “easy pickings”, as you note, but I tend to worry first and relax later.


grendel Says:

You’re paying the price for Djokovic’s success, jane. It’s not quite “uneasy lies the head that wears the crown”, but it’s getting that way. Welcome to the world of worry.

Federer was talking about the difficulty of maintaining concentration when one reporter asked him if, during the match, he thought about what he would have for supper.

“Um, maybe. I don’t know,” Federer said. “You think of many things. You can imagine how many points I’ve played, so I’ve had a lot of time to think out there.”

You can imagine how many different things he’s had to think about, too. This kind of thinking being largely involuntary and automatic, such thoughts are likely to remain undisclosed. It’s kind of fascinating, though, to speculate. I mean, Federer always looks so serious as he plods, head down, back to his mark. You can imagine people looking on awestruck as they consider this miracle of concentration, whilst all the time Federer is actually thinking “that was a greasy bag of chips, I wonder if that’s why I keep wanting to shit” or “that girl sitting in the 3rd row next to that loud-mouthed ape, really what’s she doing with him? I wonder if….” or possibly – well, after all each can supply his own conjecture…..

“One reporter cheekily asked Federer if, during the match, he thought about what he would have for supper.

“Um, maybe. I don’t know,” Federer said. “You think of many things. You can imagine how many points I’ve played, so I’ve had a lot of time to think out there.”


grendel Says:

sorry about the repetition – something to do with copying.


Kimmi Says:

ha-ha grendel, i saw those qoutes on ATP website. they have the title of the article as..”federer: i am not a RoboCop” lol!

I thought he wasa a RoboCop at one time when he was having a streak of winning so many matches..

Well, i hope he keeps his concentration intact in the later rounds because simon and djoko will be very tough!


jane Says:

” Welcome to the world of worry.” Ha! Clearly you don’t know me grendel; I was born in the world of worry and have been living there ever since. As for Djoko’s success, he has never been as consistently consistent as Fed or Rafa, so I don’t think it’s quite the same. I have always worried about him precisely because he can fall into slumps. But today it was more about concern for that shoulder. You see, apparently the reason his serve went off the first time was partly related to his shoulder, and then he worked with Martin to change the motion, to avoid injury, and then his serve got even worse. So now he’s back to the old motion. But usually with Nole it’s the serve I worry about, and I think his bouncing is a tic related to the fact that it can be what he worries about / thinks about most too. It’s not his easy shot. Though, that’s not to say he can’t have excellent serving stretches, and when he does, I can relax more because the rest of his game usually flows. Though today he couldn’t chip away at F-Lo’s first serve like he usually does.


Kimmi Says:

winning 2 GS already shows djoko is a figher, you cant win major tournaments if you dont want to fight!


Kimmi Says:

F-Lo lefty first serve i think is one of the toughest to return. (if he is on a good serving day of course) I have watched his matches with federer, the one that comes to mind was the USO match…cant remember the year.

he served well too when he beat nadal at queens and when he played roddick at the AO, so he will always be a tricky player.


Kimmi Says:

ah, wawa wins. a tough fight vs fognini. well, fognini can play well on clay but wawa has been struggling a little these couple of weeks.


Kimmi Says:

did i just see sam querrey lost..

sam in trouble now, he normally pick up a lot of points during US hard courts, if he cant picks up points he will fall down the ranking fast..

verdasco is out too, bellucci beat him..aaaagh!

I think almagro will win a third title in a row..he is on a roll..isnt he getting tired though, playing 3 weeks straights


contador Says:

laughing at the description of what might go through federer’s mind in grendel’s 4:58pm post! now wondering which players have the worst trouble dismissing what. haha thanks grendel.

the atp “robo cop” bit by fed was funny too. imagine what he must be thinking watching and waiting for rafa to serve or receive. i mean rafa is so distracting in general. maybe dolgo has a bit of that ability to distract too. and delpo. which reminds me of the way he played gulbis during their chokefest…federer had the look of someone maybe having an out of body experience.

djoko is another player i’ve thought might be easily distracted. his expression appears serious enough but a smirk, smile, laugh is not far from his mind. something always going on in there to amuse when it’s time for all business. obviously he’s improved. it’s his personality and what i like about him….he can’t help it a lot. would be fun to hear him tell all!

tennis and especially golf are like that, plenty of time to be distracted by random stuff.
_________________

Jane – i enjoyed djoko’s match this morning. easy for me to say, right? never was a question in my mind about who would win.

but that is not how i watch federer since 2008. first round matches no matter who….somdev…. i’m nervous. federer going out first round is not ever okay in my mind. neither is going out to stakhovsky but it wouldn’t be as bad.

match of the day tomorrow might be simon – gasquet. i’d pick simon. gasquet should win. gasquet knows he should win, which means pressure. the h2h is 4-0 gasquet. and richie won the last time in january 2009 when simon was still playing well. but a lot has happened to each since then.

djoko’s match is too early, i see. and simon gasquet too late. should be able to watch federer. dubai is not in a good time zone.


dari Says:

Lots of funny stuff folks! Kimmi- been watching out for Stan. For the most part, he’s been coming through these tough 3 setters. but why the lapse to cause three sets anyway? Maybe somebody should ask that swiss about concentration!
Fed fans, contador especially, I’m trying to usher in a new era of fed fan calmness. Since the combo of ” OMG, best shot ever, best ever, shank,shank, best ever, best ever, shank, best ever…”, repeat… is so common right now, its too much for my young heart and I want to relax and just enjoy the best ever’s cause he won’t be here forever. Just wanna enjoy the tennis and hope he gets another major.
Easier said than done!


Kimmi Says:

” OMG, best shot ever, best ever, shank,shank, best ever, best ever, shank, best ever…”, repeat…

dari – hahaha funniest thing i have read today :) sooo true! so true!! dont think i am able to join the fed fan calmness club! as long as those “shanks” continue, i am watching with one eye and the heart rate just a liitle bit higher…

well, jane is not alone afterall!!

hopes he survives this week..phew!

contador – 4-0 gasquet, no way, i wouldnt have thought that. simon is ready to concur all his demons this week..remember youzhny?


sar Says:

aren’t these the same guys who were dissing him a couple of years ago?
STU,
It’ll be interesting to see how the US talking heads “discuss” Nole, especially Gimelstob. LOL!


jane Says:

That is surprising contador, about Gasquet v Simon. I’ll probably miss them all, but hoping Djoko serves better, then the rest will take care of itself, except maybe the inner smirks and sighs, ;)

dari, that was funny. For a while there with Nole, all I good think was (eyes tightly squeezed during the bouncing) “omg please not another double, please go in, please no more double faults, just get the bloody serve over and in, please no more double freaking faults!!!!”


jane Says:

good s/b could ^ slip o the mind.


dari Says:

sar- sucks that you think of gimmelstob as a representative of ‘ US talking heads’! He’s not a good example. Well maybe that was your point all along, I realize this moment!


stu Says:

sar, I never pay attention to Gimelstob. I really don’t know what makes him an authority on singles pro tennis. give me Nole-lovin’ Johnny Mac any day!


jane Says:

^ agreed stu!


jane Says:

Also agree w/you Kimmi on your comments re: F-Lo. He can be tricky, that serve especially.


margot Says:

grendel: where exactly is the world without worry..cos I’d really love to go there for a while ….;) btw re Andy’s interviews, he used to be spontaneous in interview but got badly burned, also reporters don’t get his humour, hence the carefully weighed responses, bit of a shame really.
Watching Lopez I thought what a fantastic player he can be and wondered why he hasn’t achieved more. Just too beautiful I suppose, now 41 in rankings, ridiculous!
Watch out dAri, we’re now not allowed to point out that Fed shanks ;)


madmax Says:

margot, it’s called humour! you are allowed to say anything! :)

Fed shanks more than andy I would say – don’t be sour. wasn’t meant in that way if you took offence?


madmax Says:

Margot, looking back at my post, in reply to yours “aww margot, he’s 29! And age is just a number. If you believe you are old, then you talk yourself into it, don’t you think? and whose got the oldest body on the tour? because it certainly isn’t federer – plenty of athletes beyond 30 still competing at the highest level. There is no one to match federer’s longevity in the game.

ah I know you dont like him, and would prefer to go shopping if he reaches a final, negative comments dont help the situation for the rest of us! :) And yes, beautiful shot followed by shank, not all the time, but some of the time. but am not going to dwell on that, it serves no purpose.

The same could apply to murray, don’t you think? This guy has been touted to win slams for the last 2 years as you know, nothing happening for him yet. you wouldn’t turn your back on Andy M. Even though he is a fine player, and was ousted first round against baghdatis at Rotterdam – these things happen – I dont listen a lot of the time to what commentators say about andy as I think it’s downright disrespectful”.

I would say is fair? why you should have to pretend it was anything otherwise only you would know. You are the greatest defender of Andy here, we are all aware of that. And you know what it’s like to hear constant cravings from the media about Andy winning a slam. The same goes for fed, but a thousand times more, he’s over, he’s done, that’s it. After a while you get tired of hearing the same thing. I enjoy watching other players, and like you, would prefer to go shopping than watch your murray play. You think I cant accept that fed shanks? Re-read my post and dont take offence at a comment that replies to yours.


mat4 Says:

Jane, about your post at 5.52:

There is a thing we usually overlook: Nole, just like Rafa, is playing a lot of long rallies, and if you watch carefully, you can notice that he is bouncing the ball much more after, to find his breathe.

At Melbourne, we could also see that in the second set, when those long rallies started, both RF and NDj lost their serves a few times. In the third, Roger lost his serve after a long return game, then, I remember that two years ago, every time he was serving first after a turnover (? is it the right word?), Rafa used to win easily the set against Novak on clay.

Yesterday, Nole had another problem: he was trying to play on the net in the first set, and lost his rhythm. He made a lot of volley errors, then, in the second set, when he had to go to the net, when FL was returning a high and slow BH slice, he stood on the baseline. He still has to improve.

But it is just one match. RF is also playing a lot of matches just like that, losing a set here and there. It is very difficult to play at his best all the time.


madmax Says:

Mat4, i agree. But novak’s breathing has so much improved to what it used to be – remember the AO a couple of years ago, because he had to retire due to the heat and got a lot of stick for that – now he is playing in dubai, a similar, if not hotter temperature than Oz (I think then it was 40 degrees, now in dubai, it is more or less the same, if not one or two degrees higher, but more humid (and more worrying for asthma sufferers when the weather is more humid).

novak seems to have got his act together in more ways than one.


jane Says:

Novak has that new doctor traveling with him madmax; he was at the AO. Maybe that is helping.

mat4, I hear ya about the catching his breath issue. He also seems to bounce more before first serves than seconds, particularly at tense moments. So it’s probably a re-focusing habit or something.

margot, agree about Murray’s humour; they just don’t get “wry” or dry humour, it seems. Now Murray is more pensive instead of just being himself. It’ll all come round though; I truly believe it. He’s going to find comfort in his own skin and then look out! :)


dan Says:

Can someone tell me why Nole didn’t lose points for withdrawing from Rotterdam? He was a semifinalist there last year and should have to defend those points no?


jane Says:

mat4 did you see Nole’s match? Sounds like the first set was difficult, he was down 3-5 or something, but came back? That’s what I read at the ATP site anyhow.


dari Says:

Fed and stakhovsky match very entertaining!


stu Says:

dan, Rotterdam did not count towards his points total because he played more ATP500 tournaments than were countable. He won davis cup, beijing and dubai, so a semifinal result in rotterdam was not good enough!


skeezerweezer Says:

dari,

Entertaining indeed!

Fed is through against the tricky Stak

Go Fed!


contador Says:

dari! i watched most of it. that was pretty relaxing. not as many shanks and more OMG shots : )

poor stakhovsky tho. i thought that last drop shot of his was perfect but roger got to it and OMG

thanks for the match maestro!

wish i could watch simon-gasquet but gotta work.

hope to find a stream for delpo later. bye.


dari Says:

Fed/stakh match looked like it was fun to play. Fast pacelots of variety and passing. way to go, Rog on the win!
Meanwhile french battle has a slower more grueling feel. I have to leave even before the firsr set is decided! Don’t know whether to cheer gilles cause I like him, or just wanna keep my mouth shut cause I think gasquet would be an easier oopnent for rog… go daddy gilles!


margot Says:

jane: Nole’s form seems erratic BUT he’s dug himself out and won anyway. Very encouraging I’d say. I think Grendel is right he is now as competitive as anyone.
Dearie me, do hope you’re right about Andy but can he do the major sorting out he needs to, in order to achieve slams? Dunno :(


jane Says:

margot. yes, always encouraging when they dig themselves out isn’t it. just a little ocncerned about the serve going awol again is all. hope the shoulder’s okay too. i don’t know about murray obviously, but i believe in him and that article you recommended was convincing! :)


grendel Says:

“Watching Lopez I thought what a fantastic player he can be and wondered why he hasn’t achieved more.” (margot). Word is, the boy’s lazy, doesn’t like to put the hours in. He has a rather imperial way of strutting about the court, don’t you think? Not quite like Fognini’s peacock strut (see Contador on this, like me, she’s a fan), which is essentially comic opera. The Lopez swagger is informed by a consciousness of real gift. I recall Lopez once concluding a game with Dent (US Open year or 2 ago) with a delicious bh volley, and then marching to the chair for all the world as if he was about to receieve a crown – preparatory, perhaps, to addressing his people (always providing he could be bothered). When he misses, he looks disdainful as if quite frankly all this childish stuff involving balls and things is rather beneath him but still – if people insist – he doesn’t mind demonstrating how it’s done.

Did you know that the Romanian Tiriac – entrepreneur, tennis player of quality, coach, sardonic spectator accustomed to sitting in a solitary huddle, gangster look alike – he said that if he had had Lopez under his tutelage, he’d have made him Wimbledon Champion within a couple of years. By no means an outrageous proposal.


margot Says:

grendel, yes he does absolutely! He looks like some Spanish conquistador who has somehow strayed onto a tennis court by mistake! What makes him so darned attractive…
Yes, the laziness fits but, possibly the beauty I mentioned comes into it too, beautiful people tend to get a better deal of life’s hand and therefore might feel things are due by right not hard work?

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