Djokovic Hits 24; Nadal, Federer Near SF Collision at Miami Tennis Masters, Will They Get There?
by Sean Randall | March 31st, 2011, 11:29 am
  • 221 Comments

It’s the end of March and Novak Djokovic still hasn’t lost a match on the year! Yesterday, the streaking Serb won his 24th straight match beating Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-2 to advance to the semifinals of the Miami Tennis Masters.

“You obviously get confidence with 24 wins in a row,” Djokovic said after beating the man who upset him in Miami in 2008. “It keeps getting better, of course. But I don’t want to be carried away from that. I want to keep on working hard and taking one match at a time. You know, when it stops, it stops, but I’m definitely focusing on the next opponent.”

Novak’s next opponent in the semifinals will be Mardy Fish who to my surprise has upset Juan Martin Del Potro and yesterday David Ferrer in consecutive rounds.

Fish’s semifinal effort also moves him ahead of Andy Roddick in the rankings making Mardy the top ranked American man in tennis. Roddick, who lost in the second round to Pablo Cuevas, was defending 1000 points from his 2010 win.

“I didn’t know how I was going to feel coming into today, especially having such a hard fought match yesterday,” Fish said after defeating Ferrer 7-5, 6-2. “It was hot and humid yesterday. I just haven’t played in those conditions in a long time. That was partly the problem there in the end. Just tried to hydrate as much as I could and get back.”

Fish, who prefers to play in the hot, humid conditions of Florida where he grew, now gets Djokovic likely in the Friday afternoon Miami heat. Through his 24 match wins – he hasn’t lost since February – Djokovic has dropped just FIVE sets!

Today, all eyes will be on Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal as they try to set up semifinal showdown, and I think it’s going to happen.

Both guys are playing pretty well – I’d rate Rafa’s quarterfinal march just ahead of Federer’s. Neither player has lost a set although they haven’t really been tested, that is until today.

Federer gets a rematch with Mr. Smooth Gilles Simon. At the Australian, Federer was pushed to very brink by Simon before the Swiss finally got him in five very tough, tense sets.

“He’s a great player so matches against him are never easy,” Federer said after that Australian win. “This is the first win I’ve had against him. I wasn’t playing poorly to lose the third and fourth sets. I really think Gilles took it to me. Every time we play we go the distance, so hopefully we don’t play each other anymore.”

Simon is still 2-1 career vs Federer so he’ll have more than enough confidence against the Swiss. And Simon loves the pace and the ball that Federer can suplly. Still, I think Federer gets through this in a match that goes the distance. To do it, though, he’ll have to serve well, mix up his shots and as always, no shanks! Otherwise the Frenchman will get him again.

The hot, humid conditions could also play a role. Federer’s also coming off very, very late finish from his Tuesday night win over Olivier Rochus.

Tonight, Nadal will have his hands full with the dangerous Tomas Berdych. The Czech upset Federer in the evening a year ago in Miami and after a poor finish to the 2010 season he seems to have righted his game.

However, Rafa has won the last eight against Berdych (leads 9-3) including 19 straight sets! So in this Wimbledon final rematch the numbers definitely favor Nadal and I like him in straight sets.

“Difficult match always,” Nadal said. “We know each other. We played a lot of times, and I know just play my best tennis I gonna have chances against him. He can play very, very good, and I have to play very solid all the time with my serve and wait a chance on the return.”

Overall, I still like Nadal winning the Miami title. Though the road is daunting with Berdych then Federer then Djokovic. It’s a tough ask but if anyone is up for the challenge it’s Rafa.

The women will play one semifinal today with Maria Sharapova against Andrea Petkovic. The second semi after Nadal features Victoria Azarenka against Vera Zvonareva. Is a Saturday screamfest final between Sharapova and Azarenka ahead?

With the Tennis Channel wrapped up, ESPN2 will have full coverage today starting at 1pm with the Sharapova match. Live streaming is also available.

STADIUM start 1:00 pm
[21] A Petkovic (GER) vs [16] M Sharapova (RUS)
Not Before 3:00 PM
[3] R Federer (SUI) vs [25] G Simon (FRA)
Not Before 7:00 PM
[1] R Nadal (ESP) vs [7] T Berdych (CZE)
Not Before 9:00 PM
[3] V Zvonareva (RUS) vs [8] V Azarenka (BLR)


Also Check Out:
Indian Wells QF Open Thread: Roger Federer v. Rafael Nadal 29
Roger Federer Did Not Enter The Miami Masters, A Tournament He Had Never Missed Until This Year
It’s Venus Williams v. Kim Clijsters in the Miami Final
Surprise! Rafael Nadal Says Knee Is “Doing Well”
Federer Readies for Revenge on Roddick, Tsonga Seeks Fifth Straight on Djokovic in Miami

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221 Comments for Djokovic Hits 24; Nadal, Federer Near SF Collision at Miami Tennis Masters, Will They Get There?

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Rafa and Fed with pretty dangerous roads compared to Nole. Nole definitely has things falling his way to keep the streak going. Should be some great tennis today in the first quarters, I will hold my judgment on Berdych, he has not been at the tennis-royalty level for quite some time.


fedeRER Says:

tennis vagabond,
I agree and he has been surviving all tournament so
tired +rafa = loose


Tennis Vagabond Says:

You wanna get really psyched? Just one week after Key Biscayne is the first clay masters.


jane Says:

If you go by rankings Berdy is #7, Fish is #15 and Simon is #27 currently. But in terms of match-ups, Simon has posed some trouble for Fed. Berdy did win 3 versus Rafa years ago, but Rafa has won the last 8 matches between them. Match-up-wise Fed may have the toughest road, methinks. Then Rafa and Nole are about even. Fish is playing well, took out Delpo and Ferrer, and could enter the top 10 next week should he beat Nole. Also, not sure who saw the Anderson match last night, but he played very well.


Dory Says:

O god Dramapova again delaying ATP matches.


Thangs Says:

/*Then Rafa and Nole are about even*/

No way….Berdy is tougher opponent than Fish…Being this is a fast hardcourt, all 3 are equal tough for Rafa…In general,the order of toughness is Berdy, Simon & Fish…


jane Says:

^ Not sure – maybe, but my point was that Rafa Berdy’s his number lately (won last 8 matches); that’s why I said “match-up-wise” I think Fed has the toughest, since Simon has a winning record, and then Nole and Rafa are about equal in terms of how they’ve done against their opponents, meaning H2Hs. However I do know what you mean, and certainly rankings-wise, both Simon and Berdy have been top ten guys already. Fish’s top level is very high though, as Tennis Vagabond pointed out yesterday.


mat4 Says:

Jane,

agree with you. Anyway, there is no easy opponent right now. Then, there is the Fed-Rafa semi.

Fish is playing excellent tennis. Watched most of the Nole match, and he was at his best level this week.


Polo Says:

I think the only player who has a realistic chance of beating Rafa is Nole. If Berdych plays out of his mind, he could, but how often do you see him do that? Federer is just a step too slow now to handle Rafa. Simon can beat Federer but not Rafa.


mat4 Says:

I believe that Fed also has his chances, especially if the match is played during the afternoon.


Polo Says:

Here we go! I hope Federer keeps his end of the bargain and be there for the semis.


Polo Says:

I may sound very pessimistic about Federer but I still hope he wins everything.


Huh Says:

Berdych’s betr than Simon or Fish. so i wud say Rafa’s toughr road of d top 3. Reason’s if fed or nole r anywher clos 2 der best, den simon n fish hv no chanc of beatin der respectiv oponents here, bt evn if rafa’s playin near best tenis, stil berdych playin clos 2 his best has at least outside chanc vs rafa.


Huh Says:

go fed!!!


Huh Says:

simon’s a truly gud gud playr thou, nt at al too far behind berdych!


Polo Says:

Well, well, this may be anti-climactic. Hope it stays that way.


Dory Says:

What? Trainer at the first change event! Strange.


Polo Says:

It looks like it is over before it even started.


The fighter Says:

who won guys? wow fed in gud form…


Dory Says:

I wanted this match to happen or all the Fed haters would come out saying how he’s got lucky now and all that crap.


Daniel Says:

Damm, Fed needed more match practice before Nadal.


Dory Says:

I don’t understand. One either retires before the match begins or plays at least a set before realizing what’s wrong, right?


Polo Says:

Crap! How lucky can Federer get!
But I don’t hate Federer. I am very happy that he is in the semis. A win is a win. Who cares about how it happened?


Daniel Says:

Another semis for Fed. I lost count already since Wimby.


dari Says:

sorry for daddy gilles :(
to the practice court, roger!


contador Says:

shoot! i go to get a sandwich and no match. hm, disappointing.

i was prepared for a 3 set tennis thriller. :/

not how i wanted the fedal to happen. but simon played his last 2 matches-grueling 3 setters.

all the best to simon…love gilou.


Dory Says:

Polo, don’t worry I won’t misunderstand you as hating RF. :) Is this the earlier retirement ever once a match has begun?


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Not sure why folks are so down on Fed vs Rafa. Fed really took him apart last time they played, and has a winning H2H on hard. All Fed’s losses this year have been to SuperSerb, so its a pick-em to me. I hope for a great match tonight, but hope Rafa gets through so we get an even better one tomorrow.

Pretty amazing semis and quarters of the two masters so far in terms of getting the top ranked players there.


Polo Says:

Go Federer! Another one to add up to your record. Keep going so that nobody else can come close to all the tennis records you have collected so far.


Dory Says:

Now I have three hours in the night to kill. It’s 1:30 AM in India.


Sean Randall Says:

Stiff neck sends Simon off the court. Disappointing.


dari Says:

What does hm stand flex contador.
And I swear, whenever you.mention a sandwich something happens!


dari Says:

That’s supposed to say, ” what does hm stand for, contador?”


contador Says:

just a sound made, dari like mmmmm (hm,….) or duhhh, arrrrrgh, uggh, aaaack….wanted to see tennis.

really, getting a sandwich for lunch maybe a good jinx? i guess i should get a “sandwich” before the fedal semi.


dari Says:

ok, thought it was “holy moly” or something to that effect.
will miss other semi, but… go berdych!


dari Says:

i mean other quarter- maybe so used to fedal in final ;)


jane Says:

I guess Fed’s road isn’t so difficult after all ;) I just got back to office to check scores, and they said “Fed 3-0″ check!


jane Says:

Daniel has a point – not playing can sometimes backfire, i.e., not match grooved. But rest helps too, so it’s tough to say, can work both ways for Fed: positive, in that he’s not played a long grueling match; or negative, in that he’s not had a test. I’d say more positive than negative as he can hit the practice courts.

Wishing the best for Simon.


dari Says:

Yeah I’m not sure if this is a help or hurt for fed, but I’m gonna say its a help
1) because its what he’s been dealt
2) because be is quite the geezer now, rest is good


Kimberly Says:

nervous for rafas match but very very happy for maria!


andrea Says:

sorry to hear about gilles…crowds obviously disappointed, expecting a great match. hopefully berdych can deliver the goods.


Kimmi Says:

dari – fed is not a “geezer” yet :)

I was more nervous for fed that usual. glad he won!! i mean glad he is thru or whichever way, injuries are all part of the game.

Good luck to simon, he is starting to play very well..i think his 2008 form is kind of coming back slowly.

Contador – have a sandwich, same flavour/type as today please :)

WOW! what a demolition job from sharapova. i think she could win this..good luck to her and her biggest fan kimberly.


dari Says:

fine, kimmi, i guess he is not a geezer. was trying to go the depricative route :)
melzer, ferrer, and roddick are actually rounding out the average top ten age well.


Dory Says:

That’s it. Both matches of today are disappointing. No one can be in the same class as the top 3.


Kimmi Says:

wow! i can feel rafa’s shots heaviness from my stream…

c’mon berdy, no bagel or breadstick

what a FH from rafa! federer beware!


Daniel Says:

Wow, Nadal in for it today.

He is changing this aproach in his game, he used to be a slow starter, but nowadyas he is ready from the get go.


jane Says:

^ Agree Daniel: Nadal is looking for quick starts, wanting to be a front runner, get off court more quickly, less wear and tear. He came out rampaging versus Nole at IW too.

But as mentioned earlier, Nadal has won his last *8* matches versus Berdych. I would be surprised if this went any other way than a Rafa win.


Kimmi Says:

Rafa is bad match-up for berdych! berdy doesn’t know what is hitting him..he doesnt know what tactic to use..to beat rafa you need a tactic! go hard to his FH..nishikori played a very good game earlier in a week.


Daniel Says:

kimmi,
Versus Fed Nadal is so worried trying to put everyball including serves is Fed’s backhand that he usually doen’t play this freelly.
Even with the HxH you sense the awe in the air by both players, but Nadal got the better of Fed in the mental department due to all clays wins.


contador Says:

holy moly, dari! lol… usually it’s “good god!” can’t berdych get a game on the board? oh just as i type poor berd gets a game.

jane didn’t bust my oxymoron? “good jinx” ; )

i’ll have a good luck sandwich for federer, no matter what time the match is here. but no watching the fedal for me, unless fed wins. and it’s “after the fact.” arrrrgh. should have a bumper sticker with a zero and a line through the zero no fedal. no one here would know what the.. i mean, lol…


Dory Says:

Monster Serve Madness 2


Kimmi Says:

daniel – i think contador sandwich should get rafa all confused tomorrow.


sheila Says:

would love 2c federer win the whole tournament, but ic nadal taking this 1 against djokovic in the final. after losing 2 djokovic in indian wells, i think it only motivated nadal 2 win this 1. when nadal loses, he gets more motivated because he hates losing. berdych has game 2win nadal, but not the mental ability. he will feel the pressure from nadal & not be able 2handle it. soderling has same problem, gr8 game, but not tuff mentally against nadal or djokovic & thats y those 2 r #’s 1&2. interesting 2c how long djokovic rides this wave. im not a djokovic fan, but he has a good attitude about how he cs his current streak. hes smart, not smarmy about it.as 4 roger, he hope w/all my heart he pulls it out, but lets be realistic, nadal is #1 4a reason & djokovic is #2 4a reason. i also dont c djokovic taking #1 ranking from nadal. i dont think he can win nadal in a best of 5 & thats y im predicting nadal 2win remaining majors. who else can take 3 sets off nadal @ this point? plenty of guys have the game, but not mentally tuff enuff 2doit.


contador Says:

so true, Kimmi. berd appears shell-shocked. has no clue.

nishikori played smart tennis v nadal. had they played before?

nevermind, i can look it up. berdysh might get another game this set. has to stay out of long rallies somehow.


jane Says:

Nadal already has his “madal” face on, lol; not much to be “mad” about tonight Rafa! ;)


jane Says:

Some nice play from Berdy, here, at the end of set one. But Rafa too tough.


Kimmi Says:

outstanding set of tennis from world no. 1..says jason goodall.

koenig thinks nadal has been playing the best this tournament. even the hot djokovic did not win from koenig this week..


jane Says:

I agree: picked Rafa to win in my bracket. What sheila said is basically what I thought then: “after losing 2 djokovic in indian wells, i think it only motivated nadal 2 win this 1.”

Berdych making some silly mistakes in this game though.


Kimmi Says:

i don’t agree with the commentators all the time. federer is going to surprise all..go fed! beat nadal and djoko..now that will be fantastic.


grendel Says:

“Damm, Fed needed more match practice before Nadal.” Agree, Daniel. Fed’s actually been looking very good and I think he will have been livid that he couldn’t get in the practice to get him match tight. My son, coming in from a night at the flicks, popped his head round the corner to say “I see Federer’s had another easy ride.” “Absolutely not,” I responded coldly. “He badly needed the tuning to prepare for Nadal”. “Champions are supposed to adapt,” responded the younger generation (priggish lot, aren’t they, the young?)”and besides, Simon could have beaten him”. I disdained to respond to these loftily proclaimed utterances.

w.r.t. to earlier posts: Berdych has been a great player in his time, but he is absolutely no threat whatsoever to Nadal – once, he was. Those days are long gone. On the other hand, Fish could play a blinder and take Djokovic. Unlikely, certainly, but just about feasible. Fish in particular is unpredictable – he swings from utter crap to the sublime. He really is very talented.

With the retirement of Simon, Sky showed excerpts of the Miami Fedal final of 2005. I found a certain irony in watching the set point of the 3rd set, which Federer took. He pounded, relentlessly, the Nadal backhand, and broke it down.


jane Says:

Kimmi, yes, well Fed won the last match versus Nadal on a hardcourt. But don’t put Nole through yet; Fish could beat him.


Dory Says:

OMG Berdych now HOLD!!!!!! Don’t drop your serve.


Kimmi Says:

berdy breaks..now hold! hold!


Kimmi Says:

berdy hold hold hold hold hold hold


Dory Says:

Yes! Now one more break and it will be insurance.


Kimmi Says:

rafa is going thru a bad phase!


Ben Pronin Says:

I want a Fedal semi. But no one should take 21 straight sets off of Berdych. So I’m rooting for him this set.


Daniel Says:

Weel Berdych can only close this set if he breaks Nadal again. Otherwise Nadal will get the break back.
WTF, Nadal with the trainner on his shoulder?!?!?!


grendel Says:

“nishikori played smart tennis v nadal. had they played before?” Contador, I agree with you and Kimmi. I’m not able to watch current match, but I wouldn’t anyway even if I could,”berd appears shell-shocked. has no clue.” – absolutely true, it’s really a deer in the headlights, it’s kind of unbearable to watch this tall, elegant athlete who times the ball like a dream reduced to a shambling wreck. That’s always the story these days of Bird/Nad.

Contador, Nishikori played Nadal at Queens 2 or 3 years ago, took a set off him and looked deeply impressive – could have won. Nadal paid him the compliment of predicting he’d be top 5 “for sure”. Alas, injury – so when Nishikori met Nadal again, he wasn’t so impressive. But he has oodles of potential, as he showed other day, and he’s definitely smart.

I think Nadal will win this tourney – otherwise, Federer. I think on this occasion, Fed will give Nadal a tougher battle than Djokovic. That’s what it’s looking like to my mystic eyes.


grendel Says:

oh-oh, am I about to make a prize tit of my self? Won’t be the first time. Mind you, I agree with Daniel, Nadal is likely to break again. And honour will be preserved.


Dory Says:

Wow I have extra respect for Berdych for showing courage in this set.


Ben Pronin Says:

On tennis.com they said the big problem Nishikori had against Nadal was that he has no big finishing weapons. If you can’t close out Nadal with big winners you won’t beat him. Similar to Devarman. You can’t outconsist Nadal no matter how bad he’s playing. You have to take it to him big time.

I’m unable to watch the current match but the last few I’d agree, Berdych plays god awful against Nadal. I also agree that it’s a shame because, especially in the last year, we’ve seen great stuff from the big guy. Gamewise the match up is bad for Nadal but it just goes to show how important the mental factor is. Man if that concept hasn’t been beaten to death in the last few months.


Fritz Says:

grendel, won’t be the last time either…


Kimberly Says:

rafa definitely went down a notch!!! GRRRRRRRRR


grendel Says:

You must be right, Dory. But Bird’s still got 2 service games to protect. Can’t believe he’ll hold his nerve.


Kimmi Says:

grendel – have you seen djoko playing in this tournament? he is on fire..the most he is lost in a set is 4 games…yesterday. I dont know about federer, he played well against rochus but was awful against monaco..its hard to say.

rafa has a shoulder problem. i hope berdy takes this set.


andrea Says:

hey….maybe this will be a three setter. c’mon berdych…hang in there.


Kimmi Says:

rafa with some amazing gets! wow!


Kimmi Says:

important game this one…berdy hold!


Dory Says:

They should hold a round robin tournament of just the big 3 or big 4.


grendel Says:

Ben, that’s exactly what came across watching Nishikori valiantly taking it to Nadal. Now, a kind of Nishikori/Berdych combo – that would be pretty irresistible against Nadal.

Fritz – absolutely!


Daniel Says:

Excelent game by NAdal.


Kimmi Says:

WWOW! what a game by berdy! one more!


grendel Says:

Kimmi, no, I haven’t seen Djokovic. I just wondered, from reports of Anderson match, if he might have been coming slightly off the boil.


Daniel Says:

The pressure will be when serving 5-3. The ideal for Berdych is somehow attack like crazy this game, from the get go with the returns. The worst he can do is stay in the baseline giving Nadal “pump up shots”, better lose the game in your own rackets.


Fritz Says:

It would be funny if Nadal retires tomorrow against Federer after 3 games with…stiff neck


contador Says:

what? i drive home and berd is up a break in the 2nd set?

is nadal injured?

Grendel, thanks for the info on nishikori. he took a set off nadal 1st time they played. so did pogodoll take a set off nadal last summer. but no mas….once nadal has played them he’s not going to lose unless something is wrong with nadal. at least until nadal is past his prime. for the time being, they are a small snack for rafa.

can’t believe the score. watching the match. guessing berd will choke away his lead….but……


Dory Says:

Something’s wrong. Nadal playing just like that IW final.


Ben Pronin Says:

I dont think Nadal would ever retire against Federer.

Grendel, Djokovic was missing a few extra shots off his backhand and I personally felt like he was making a few too many errors when he was on the attack. But Anderson was the attacker for most of the match and I don’t think there was any holes in Djokovic’s defending whatsoever. Great defending and so-so attacking could probably score him wins over anyone left in the draw except Nadal. But we’ll see. I’m looking forward to tomorrows matches big time. Even if Fish loses, he could make a big statement if he really pushes Djokovic, something only Nadal and Fed have kinda been able to do so far.


grendel Says:

I was just about to say Nadal’s serve is very difficult to attack, generally, when I saw Bird had set point! He must have been listening to Daniel.


Daniel Says:

The impression I get sometimes is that Nadal deep down doesn’t like to play attacking tennis and he missed his foccus. Second time (Djoko IW 11′) that we saw he play a tremendous first set and be in trouble in the second, even playng good tennis.


Ben Pronin Says:

The first serve percentage for the set isn’t particularly low, above 60%. But the points won off it is below 60%. Bad for any player, especially Nadal.


Dory Says:

Please hold Birdy now!!!!!


Daniel Says:

Moment of the truth, after 20 straigh sets lost…
All will depend on Berdy first serves.


Ben Pronin Says:

Those stats just reversed.


contador Says:

do i hear gagging sound?

berdych serving for a set.


Kimmi Says:

how do you hold a serve berdy..here is important!


grendel Says:

well, Bird had 2 cracks, was it? Sometimes, that’s worse – you nearly do it, don’t, brood about it, and promptly lose your serve. If Bird holds his serve now, then Dory will be vindicated, this will show great guts. On the other hand, if……


Dory Says:

Wow great game from Berdych when he needed it. Maybe he will think about winning now.


Daniel Says:

And he’s done it. Well done, saving that 15-40 game to open second set made a huge difference.


contador Says:

no! berdych gets a set -O-


Kimmi Says:

apparently since october 2006 berdy gets a set from rafa…now that must feel good.


grendel Says:

Contador, you did indeed hear a gagging sound. You and me have just got it completely wrong. Isn’t it delicious to be wrong, sometimes?


Kimberly Says:

So unpleasant for a nadal fan. Berdych is going to take this. On to clay and hope for better results.


Kimmi Says:

kimberly..its not over yet. wait for the fat lady to sing..


Daniel Says:

2 returns in the lines and is already 0-30!


Fritz Says:

Kimberly, you seem so sure about it!?


Kimmi Says:

vamos


contador Says:

haha! i am wrong a lot. been at the bottom of the bracket challenge all week, grendel. you must come party with us in the tennis-x bracket. it’s fun. sometimes humbling, sometimes lucky.
early rounds are very dicey picking.

now, if berdych wins. my bracket will crumble.

something is wrong with rafa? or an off night.

rafa rocket serve there 2 rockets serve to avoid the break. true champion rafa


Daniel Says:

WOW, 2 aces to save 2 BPs. This will be set 2 on reverse.


Daniel Says:

WTF, 3 in a row, NAdal…?!?!?!


Dory Says:

What!!! Four aces in a row and Berdych can’t even touch the racket.


Kimmi Says:

that is how you serve under pressure..bye bye berdych


contador Says:

here comes rocket serve #4. nope just a clean winner and a “take that” look from madal.


Fritz Says:

Those wouldn’t be aces with a good returner.


van orten Says:

come on nadal dont lose now..i need to see fedal tomorrow night session…


grendel Says:

Now this is where Bird has to show spirit? Nadal just served 4 aces? So what. Thats tennis. Now it’s my turn…


Dory Says:

Wow I love such tense matches. Hehe.


Daniel Says:

Agree Fritz, he served the 4 in the T. Berdy should see that coming after the second.


grendel Says:

Bird’s passed first test.


Polo Says:

Between Nadal and Berdych, when the match gets tight, who do you think will fold? Berdych, of course. Nadal-Federer semifinals is in the horizon.


Kimmi Says:

grendel- ha-ha only first test, there is many to come!


Kimmi Says:

I am just glad berdy was able to take a set..he needed it poor boy.


Dory Says:

Nice to see Berdych sticking his tongue out and smiling. :)


Fritz Says:

I say based on Polo’s and Kimberly’s prediction, one of you will be right.


grendel Says:

it’s typical that this match looks to be a thriller, can’t watch it whilst I’ve watched endless duds bet Bird and Nadal. Why can’t you know in advance if a match is going to be any good?


Polo Says:

Kimberly must have picked Berdych when he was up 0-40 on Nadal’s serve. I told my wife who is Nadal fan and going berserk in frustration to not worry and that if Nadal comes out of 3 breakpoints, the match will be his.


Daniel Says:

Nadal tasting his on medicine this point!:)


Kimmi Says:

another test for berdy coming up grendel


contador Says:

cannot believe this turned into a good match.

but every confidence that nadal will win.


Daniel Says:

Can’t Berdy comes to the net once after a good shot?!


Kimmi Says:

maybe nadal is getting old, he cant keep the intensity like federer. winning first set quickly then goes away..that is how federer decline started.


grendel Says:

its tests all along the line, Kimmi…I wonder if Bird’s starting to enjoy himself?


Kimmi Says:

berdy about to lose this game..what a horrible error


Dory Says:

Yes 3-3!! Go Berdych.


Daniel Says:

This match desevres a tiebreak, just like last years Fed and Berdy. 3 more holds for each.


contador Says:

hahaa Kimmi…

no i don’t think berd can come to net or win a rally without a lot of luck, as in an error from rafa. a big true ace is best.

i didn’t see most of the 2nd set though.

everyone has a bad night once in awhile…

wow. rafa can throw down a rocket serve when he needs it.


Kimmi Says:

the first set nadal played the best tennis the commentators have see this year..now not so much.

ah, nadal hit a shot just like first set..his first winner in the third.


Daniel Says:

From now on all Berdy’s games are going to be tense. Can he hold 3 more times to force a breaker, even serving second??!!


grendel Says:

“Can’t Berdy comes to the net once after a good shot?!” That’s what I was thinking about Delpo against Fish. I get the feeling that a lot of these players have the base line ethos drilled into them, and to actually come up to the net voluntarily – without having been pulled in by other player – is almost like fighting gravity. I once watched Seles at Wimbledon being forced to come to the net in Wimbledon final, and instantly scurrying back to the base line like a frightened rat, as if being in the proximity of the net had been a deeply scary experience. It was a great pity – Steffi Graff simply wiped the floor with her.


Daniel Says:

Nadal is playing way more short now, maybe he is getting tired along the macth and losing a little bit of pop, which is enough for hot opponents to make a run.


Kimmi Says:

c’mon berdy hold hold hold hold


Daniel Says:

“hot opponents” sounds dubious. LOL!


Fritz Says:

grendel, perhaps she was afraid to be stabbed if she beats Miss Graff, hence your reference to a frightened rat.


Kimmi Says:

danger..

15-30


Kimmi Says:

15-40 he-he the test is tough


Daniel Says:

Danger! Berdy can’t find Nadal’s backhand. He should add more angle to his forehands.


Dory Says:

In the 1st two sets, when he came to the net, Nadal has hit passing shots. Maybe that’s why.


Daniel Says:

Damm, 2 net cords agaisnt Berdy + no first serves in this games.


Kimmi Says:

break!


Dory Says:

Obvious choke. Nadal was always going to win but still disappointing.


Kimmi Says:

oh well, at least berdy got a set. congrats berdy!


Daniel Says:

grendel, My thoughts exactly on aproaching the net. The tall guys are a disaster when coming in. Even Nadal, who only comes to the net when it is 100% safe, at least follow some shots.


Daniel Says:

Fedal looming. I have a long post with some stats on their rivalry, but it will take a whole to type.


Dory Says:

..And we’ve got a Fedal match!!


grendel Says:

Fritz, this was before the stabbing incident. Seles looked quite appalled to find herself at the net, it was actually funny, althought the match was a sad travesty. Seles was stricken by nerves. We can all look like rats, given the occasion. An intelligent animal, I am given to understand.


grendel Says:

oh, dear. it had to happen. Still, Fedal looks good. Are you up for it, Contador?


Dory Says:

Djoko definitely deserves reaching one final without Federer or Nadal.


dari Says:

Walked in the house at 30-0 in the last game, just in time to see nadal win working the “wet look” its good on him.
Fedal we have it!


Fritz Says:

Goethe said in Faust: “As soon as you trust yourself, you’ll know how to live.”

This could be applied to Tomash’s matchup with Rafael – if he has more self-trust, he would know how to finish Rafael!!!

Too bad, he’ll never be a champion, only a decent top-ten player.


dari Says:

Glad big berd got a set!


Kimmi Says:

congrats to nadal..now i am not sure if he will win. he could beat fed but i think djoko will win in the final..


Dory Says:

Even though I love RF the most, I want the Djoko Djuggernat to continue the winning streak. :)


Dory Says:

Typo: *Djuggernaut.


contador Says:

there it is. only surprise was berdych got a set.

congrat to nadal and fans, fedal fans…

Kimberly : )

*crying* fedal semi-final.


Polo Says:

Djokovic may be playing extremely well but between him and Nadal, I will still pick Nadal. Their last match came to a third set so it was close. Nadal learns fast and so strong-willed that he will make it really hard for Djokovic to beat him again.

But that is jumping the gun, neither Nadal nor Djokovic has secured places in the finals yet. I am still hoping for a Federer miracle win.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

So… anyone have plans for tomorrow night?


Polo Says:

I have cancelled my plans and will stay at home…praying for a miracle.


Daniel Says:

Some FEDAL match facts – 22 matches

1 – Off Federer 8 victories, 6 he won the first set
2 – They played 74 sets, Nadal won 43 and Fed 31.
3 – Off 22 contests, 8 were in direct sets, Nadal won 5 (1 hard and 4 on clay) and Fed 3 (1 on clay 2 on hard).
4 – Federer has only once won agaisnt Nadal before clay season, Miami 05′.
5 – Nadal never beat Federer after Wimbledon, losing 3 times in World Tour Finals.
6 – They have played 17 tiebreaks, Federer won 9 and Nadal 8.
7 – Federer baggeled Nadal 2 times: Wimby 06′ and Hamburg 07′. Nadal baggeled Federer once, RG 08′.
8 – Federer gave Nadal 4 breadsticks: Miami 05′, RG 06′, WTF 07′and WTF 10′). Nadal breadsticked Federer 2 times, both in Roland Garros: RG 06′ and 08′.

The HxH has some trends:
-04′-05′ 2-1 Nadal
-06′-RG 06′ 6-1 Nadal (Nadal went 4-0)
-Wimby 06′-WTF 07′ 8-6 Nadal (Federer went 5-2)
-08′-AO 09′ 13-2 Nadal (Nadal went 5-0)
-Madrid 09′-11′ 14-8 Nadal (Federer went 2-1)

So, if Fede wins first set (his only shot of winning in my eyes) and wins the whole thing, he will be 3-1 in the last 4 meeting, suggesting that he can be on a “trend”.
But, age plays a factor here, and eventually this HxH will only go one way, unless they play few matches, as has been the case the last 2 years when they splits their 2 encounters per year.
If Nadal wins, as World N.1, it will be more expected.


Kimberly Says:

that wasn’t pretty, only consolation i can give myself is nadal played a sh-t quarter in IW and then played a good semi against Delpo.


grendel Says:

Polo, it sounds to me like you actually feel Federer has a chance. That’s what I feel. At the moment, I can’t see Federer winning a slam again although sport is simply littered with surprises and upsets, so I can’t rule him out. But in a 3 setter? When he seems to be in reasonable form and is clearly highly focused? He’s got to be in with a shot. Nerve wracking occasion, though.


Kimberly Says:

as pointed out by a fed fan awhile back, actually nadals improved hardcourt play may likely diminish the H2H in his favor that we nadal fans cherish as he will actually meet Fed more often on HC. Although I don’t know if I would call tonights play improved.


Fritz Says:

Come on grendel, it is Federer – he always has a chance.


Dory Says:

I am expecting and hoping a Nole-Federer final with Nole winning again. But RF can change his form dynamically in any one match.


Dory Says:

Nice stats btw Daniel. :)


Polo Says:

Grendel- Federer is number 3 in the world. Lower ranked players have won masters series before (Roddick won last year). So why can’t Federer?


steve-o Says:

C’mon Roger!


Fritz Says:

Polo, you have point. But, beating Spanish Bull and Superb Serb in two days is not easy. I’d say at this moment borderline impossible.

However, if anyone is capable of doing it, it is Clinical Swiss.


Kimmi Says:

Go Rog :)


Fritz Says:

I am humbly offering my prediction for the winner of Miami 2011:

Nadal: 25%
Federer: 30%
Djokovic: 40%
Fish: 5%

Total is 100%, which makes it mathematically correct!


grendel Says:

Polo, looking over my post, I can see it wasn’t clear, my bad. I actually was agreeing with you. I think Federer does have a chance against Nadal – and were he to beat him, the confidence gained would stand him in good stead against Djokovic. So, whilst he is not favourite, it would hardly be a huge surprise were he to win. For pessimists like you and me, however, it can take a bit of doing to see the sense of this…..


Kimberly Says:

This isn a total blowout so far. Not sure who I want to win. Normally I would root for azarenka as I like her but I just want the winner to be whoever will more likely lose to Maria!


jane Says:

Bummer, missed the last two sets – but looks like it got competitive. Good for Berdy to get a set. Fedal semi it is! :)


Kimberly Says:

I highly doubt I will score fix for the night session tomorrow but I will try!


Kimberly Says:

I think I will optimistically hire a babysitter.


steve-o Says:

Fritz, you have good nicknames for the top players. What’s your sobriquet of choice for Murray?

Also Federer beat Djokovic and Nadal back to back for the YEC title in London, so he has done it recently. Hopefully God-mode Federer can be persuaded to show up for the next couple matches.


steve-o Says:

@Kimberly: did you get a chance to see your favorite Spaniard live?


dari Says:

Uncharacteristcally easy for vika so far! If she keeps it up it will be a help of a screamer with masha.
Vamos Roger!
Would be legendary if you got tickets kimberly. First meeting on us soil in…6 years for fedal.


dari Says:

“Clinical Swiss”
Like it. Let’s adopt it and hope he gets back to that adjective!
Do you mind Fritz?


skeezerweezer Says:

^Kimberly!!!

U have to go. When is the next time you are going to see Rafa vs Fed? Think about. I think one of the commentators said they have never met on US soil? Is that right? Regardless, it hasn’t been often if at all, let alone in Miami :)


Fritz Says:

Don’t mind it at all, dari. I’m actually glad you guys like the nicknames.

steve-o, here is one for Murray – Missunderstood Scot. (BTW, he is my favourite player)


dari Says:

Oddly enough skeeze, pretty sure it was Miami last meeting!
Unless there was an additional time I’m missing.They played the match the other day, twas back when these things were 5 sets. Fed won in 5 and the commentators asked him what they thought of nadal’s future and he said something like “oh, man, I don’t wanna even think about his future” ;)


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Skeeze- one of their most memorable matches actually was Miami- maybe 06?.
Rafa was the Clay Monster. Fed was in his absolute dominance. The kid Rafa fought Fed tooth and nail before losing to the king in the Key Biscayne finals. It was the announcement that Rafa really was going to be a threat off clay.
So… there’s karma here for a great match.


Kimberly Says:

they met in Miami in 2005, last meeting on US soil, fed won in five sets after being down 0-2. This was when they still played best of 5 in masters. Kaiser was there.

I will dig deep to see if I can score the tickets. Already sent out numerous texts to boxholders and searching ticket websites. Don’t even care if I get good seats.

@steve-o, we saw him practice live, no live match but he did give my five year old his autograph on the practice court after practice. It took immense effort. He is bringing his tennis ball in for show and tell tomorrow. He watched the match with me, much more confident that it would work out for Rafa than I was!


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Fed has more than a shot. He has, still, the winning H2H on hard courts, and beat Rafa the last time they played just a few months ago. Fed has the same number of wins as Nole in ’11, and his three losses have all been to Nole. If Berdych was a threat, how much more so Federer? I think they’re pretty even tomorrow myself. Nole has been a cut above this year, but if he’s anything less than spectacular, Fed or Rafa can take him out.


Huh Says:

Go Fed n beat Nadal! Hehehe! :D


grendel Says:

Skeezer – you’re kidding? Can’t always tell with you… But Fed beat Nadal in Miami in 2005, after Nadal had been 2 sets to love up, a break in the 3rd – can’t remember if he had a match point or not. I think that was the first time I heard Nadal only lost because he was tired…..I remember the occasion well, it was a divided household, with one of us rooting for Nadal, delirious at the downfall of Fed, whilst I was gloomily contemplating switching sports or something. And then, somehow Fed turned it around, and the gloom passed like a guilty shadow from my face to my poor young lad’s – whilst I borrowed his joy. Tennis can be a cruel thing…


Huh Says:

Glad Fed won! :D
Now he should beat Nadal, that’d be fun to watch as a Fed fan.m :D
Even if he loses to Nadal, no need to worry; Nadal’s superman n Fed’s afraid n all that; the same old broken record would start playin, lol! ;)


jane Says:

Azarenka and Sharapova will be a LOUD final if it comes to pass. I don’t know their H2H; anyone know WTA stats? I guess Zvonareva could come back, but a bagel isn’t a promising start.


Kimberly Says:

Ok who wants a laugh. I went on a ticket broker website, box seats for day session $250 average, box seats for night $1400, I will have to rely ona mercy of one of the season tciketholder buddies or settle for tv.

Obviously I am not happy about how rafa played but as I have learned from the losses, be grateful he is still in the tournament and that I have the pleasure/anxiety of watching him for at least one more match.


dari Says:

Jane- my live score app tells me 6-2 Vera.


grendel Says:

Kimberley, I “watched” the match only via the scoreboard, which can be curiously gripping. But of course you can’t tell much if anything other than that the match was tense. Did Nadal, then, play badly? Is there no credit to Berdych? I certainly would not have thought that Berdych could any longer trouble (as he could once) a Nadal in good form. You sound as if you are confirming this. From my point of view, that is a pity, since I rather like Berdych. But facts are facts – whatever they may be.


dari Says:

Uggghhh, the on-court coaching sessions can be depressing.


jane Says:

That’s weird dari – I have 6-0 for Azarenka in set one, and the current score is 3-2 with Aza serving up a break.

Kimberly – whoa high prices. I totally related to the “pleasure anxiety” part. ;) Don’t know if Nole will beat Mardy with hometown crowd and heat, but you never know. Hope he can get to the final. Fingers crossed.

Speaking of day / night, I wonder if night favours Fed in their match up? Or no difference? I am just thinking that Fed cruised in his night match but had trouble with Monaco earlier on. Maybe it’s inconsequential, but just a thought / wonder?


dari Says:

H2H you asked for, jane?


steve-o Says:

@Kimberly: great that your son got Nadal’s autograph. Hope you can get seats for the semi!


Kimberly Says:

Grendel, nadal was super sharp in the first and the off on the second, making unforced errors and actually being the less consistent in long rallies. Ironically, I thoughtbhis serve saved his -ss and won him the match. What does everyone else think?


jane Says:

Oh, lol, dari – totally forgot. Am multi-tasking at the moment. ha ha. thanks for checking that out. I was wondering about Azarenka vs. Sharapova though – so that must be Sharpie / Vera?


Kimberly Says:

I think nadal and novak prefer night and fed and fish prefer day. Courts are dramatically faster during the day. Fish needs a fast court, heat, hail marys, bribery and more to try to take this down, slightly higher court speed and heat alone will not suffice. And fad can play slower surfaces as well so I think then advantage is even smaller in that match. But I would say the reason fed played better in his night match than against Monaco, with all due respect, was because it was verse rochus.


dari Says:

Vera/vika! Bad cross Oh- well app won’t tell me vika/ Maria cause they’re not playing now,but im sure its much closer…


jane Says:

Just checked: Maria and Vika are 2-2 H2H. Aza won the first, Maria the middle two, and Aza the latest, in 2010, 6-4, 6-1.


grendel Says:

Kimberley, thanx for your report. Strange repetition, then, since Nadal was superb against Djokovic in the first set too, and then fell off. Any conclusions to be drawn from that? Nadal in decline, perhaps…..If his serve saved him, as you say, surely that is not a surprise any more – pretty lethal serve it can be, these days. But what about Berdych? Just the same as usual, but took advantage of lapses? Or was there some notable improvement, something he can take to the land of nod with him?

jane, Monaco is a tricky player who can trouble a lot of high ranked players. It’s difficult to see Rochus bothering Federer, although he has done in the past.


jane Says:

Thanks for your take Kimberly. I guess you and grendel concur that night was not at issue in versus Ollie / Juan comparison. Fish said in his interview that he prefers day, heat, fast court, and he’s got it. It is supposed to be 30 degrees tomorrow and we all know Nole has issues with heat. I will be pleasantly surprised if he keeps his streak going to reach the final.

That’s it! It’ll be a Vika vs Sharpie screamfest final – Blonde Ambition tour.


dari Says:

I think Jane maybe and I talked about it- yes it was Ollie and not pico, but is it possible to say that somehow it is quicker at night, or at least not as slow as you expect at night because the cooler temperature is offset by a drier conditions?


Kimberly Says:

Dare I have heard that is is dramatically slower at nightl the heat speeds it up. It’s humid as he’ll night and day here. The wind seems ton dissipate at night though, which makes for better quality tennis. I played today, at 11 and it was hot and windy. I dealt with it fine but I’m hurting now from the sun. I normally play at night


Little Wing Says:

You gotta give credit to Berdych. He didn’t let the 1st set loss affect him, he actually raised his game especiallly the serve. Rafa got frustrated in the beginning when he didn’t break, had a lapse in concentration and Berdych capitalize. After that Berdych was serving really well and his confidence grew, Rafa became too negative and dropped his level. The positive thing was that Rafa regrouped and channeled his anger into his serve, which he didn’t do against Djokovic. That save Rafa made in the 3rd set with 3 aces was unbelievable. As the set progressed Berdych’s first serve started to drop and Rafa was more focused.


skeezerweezer Says:

g, d, tv, k tx I was too lazy to look that up I was just listening from the commentators and they were saying how Rafa/Fed was a big deal to meet on american soil, so you all cleared that up :). I did not know there only meeting was ….derrr,,,, MIAMI, lol. Hope they both bring another “classic”.


margot Says:

Fritz: “misunderstood Murray” your favourite player? Welcome, welcome! :)
They showed Fed v Rafa “other” Miami match on fromsport when Simon didn’t show. Fed looked like a hippie and Rafa looked so tough and yet so vulnerable with those shorts!
grendel: what about Bet 365? If u have access to a computer u can watch. far 2 late 4 me ;)


grendel Says:

Little Wing, thanx for the take on Berdych – good that he fought. Sometimes, he seems away at the races. “That save Rafa made in the 3rd set with 3 aces was unbelievable.” Not the first time, though – repeat of his strike against Djokovic at US Open. That’s some weapon to have at your disposal when times seem a touch bleak…

margot, thanx for info, I’ll bear this Bet 365 in mind. Fed/Nadal is about midnight our time – will definitely watch. Hope springs eternal in the foolish.

Not to flog the subject to death, but (after a quick peep into my runes) something else occured to me on the coaching front. In principle, Soderling must be much easier to coach than Murray, because he has a simple, uncomplicated game. Getting someone to focus on that and that alone is feasible if the player is co-operative. The downside is: Soderling’s chances of the very highest honours will be fleeting – in fact, I suspect he’s had them, and no amount of coaching will turn that around.

On the other hand, with a talent as huge as Murray’s – why, anyone could get lost under that particular tent. How to harness it, that’s the problem. Maybe it will just come good of its own accord, so to speak. Original talent can be like that, can’t it….


Polo Says:

Last year, Djokovic started the year poorly with a change of racquet, coaching modification (remember Todd Martin?), flawed serve, etc. Look where he is now? I hope Murray will get his head and game together and turn it around like his friend Nole.


margot Says:

grendel: hope springs eternal indeed, in both our beating hearts, in my case for Andy of course :) I take your point about him re coaching, love your metaphor of “tent” btw.
I only hope that deep inside Andy is a burning flame to win a slam or three and this will enable him to accept advice.I do have a worry he’ll just say “sod it” and quit though :(
Also picking up your point re Rafa, in the first set againdst Nole I thought he played brilliant exhilarating tennis, then of course faded, which I put down to Nole being so strong at the mo.
Now apparently against Berdych the same has happened. Really, really, interesting; is Rafa suddenly losing that extraordinary intensity? I didn’t think Fed had a chance against him but now I’m not feeling so sure.

Top story: Meet Mr. And Mrs. Novak Djokovic!
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Rankings
ATP - Jul 21 WTA - Jul 21
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Rafael Nadal2 Na Li
3 Roger Federer3 Simona Halep
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Petra Kvitova
5 Tomas Berdych5 Agnieszka Radwanska
6 David Ferrer6 Maria Sharapova
7 Milos Raonic7 Eugenie Bouchard
8 Juan Martin Del Potro8 Angelique Kerber
9 Grigor Dimitrov9 Jelena Jankovic
10 Andy Murray10 Victoria Azarenka
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