Nadal, Federer, Djokovic Finally Take the Madrid Court; Del Potro Wins, Verdasco Upset
by Sean Randall | May 4th, 2011, 12:48 am
  • 98 Comments

And on the fourth day, the Top 5 players in the world led by Rafael Nadal will finally make their appearance in Madrid. Nadal is joined by Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Robin Soderling on the last day of second round play.

Nadal faces former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis. Even on clay, I think the Cypriot can push Nadal put not enough to keep from a 35th straight win on the dirt.

Djokovic has his own streak to protect. The Serb has won 29 straight matches, 27 this season, as he takes tangles with big-serving Kevin Anderson. The South African upset Djokovic in Miami a few years back but I don’t think we’ll see a repeat on Wednesday.

“A lot depends on me but also on his serve as well,” Djokovic said of Anderson. “If he serves very well and if he has a lot of efficiency on that serve, he can be very dangerous, so I expect a tough match.”

And after his Belgrade win, Djokovic sounds like he’s still got the right mindset.

“I took some time off after Miami and I didn’t play in Monte Carlo so that gave me a couple of weeks to recover and really get ready for clay courts which actually require quite some time to get ready for,” said Djokovic. “Then I went to my hometown, to my country, and played a couple of matches there. So far I’m feeling good and very motivated to keep on winning.”

Federer, who hasn’t won a title since the opening week in Doha, draws the hot-handed Feliciano Lopez. The lefty just reached the Belgrade final – pushing Novak to a breaker – and today put forth a good win over Milos Raonic. The altitude should help Lopez with his serve so if any of the top players figure to get upset Wednesday it’s the Swiss.

“I play tennis and train everyday to play matches like the one tomorrow and against the players like the ones here, the best player in history, it’s really a pleasure,” said Lopez of playing the Fed. “I’m in a very good moment and I’ve had a very good season on clay and what matters most is the moment because there are incredible moments in everyone’s career and you’ve got to play against Federer and try to face him. I’ll try to play as well as I did today and if I do I will have many opportunities.”

With things packed on Stadium court, Murray and Soderling have been relegated to the outer courts. Murray, who says he’s healed up from the bad elbow, faces a very stern test in Gilles Simon. Soderling is on Court 4 against Santiago Giraldo.

After a good three-set win today over Mikhail Youhzny, Juan Martin Del Potro returns to take on Marin Cilic in what maybe the best match of the day. Though I wonder with a possible Nadal clash on Thursday, how much energy the Argentine has left in the reserves.

Other results on Tuesday include good wins by JW Tsonga, Florian Mayer and Sergei Stakhovsky who eliminated the last remaining American, John Isner.

Spaniards David Ferrer struggled but survived in three sets over Andrian Mannarino while his countryman and hometown boy Fernando Verdasco wasn’t as fortunate. “Hot Sauce” is definitely no longer hot as evidence by a loss today to Yen-Hsun Lu 7-6, 7-5. This the same Lu who couldn’t even qualify in Belgrade last week.

After a strong showing in Estoril this was not a good follow-up for Verdasco who has really been struggling this season.

ORDER OF PLAY – WEDNESDAY, 4 MAY, 2011

MANOLO SANTANA start 11:00 am
[16] P Kvitova (CZE) vs [2] V Zvonareva (RUS) – WTA

Not Before 2:00 PM
K Anderson (RSA) vs [2] N Djokovic (SRB) – ATP

Not Before 4:00 PM
[1] R Nadal (ESP) vs M Baghdatis (CYP) – ATP

Not Before 7:00 PM
[3] R Federer (SUI) vs F Lopez (ESP) – ATP
[8] M Sharapova (RUS) vs D Cibulkova (SVK) – WTA

ARANTXA SANCHEZ VICARIO start 2:00 pm
[7] T Berdych (CZE) vs [WC] M Granollers (ESP) – ATP
M Cilic (CRO) vs J Del Potro (ARG) – ATP
G Simon (FRA) vs [4] A Murray (GBR) – ATP
[Q] D Gimeno-Traver (ESP) vs [8] J Melzer (AUT) – ATP


Also Check Out:
Nadal, Federer Near Final Meeting in Madrid
Nadal Handed Madrid Title by Nishikori
Back To Red: Can Nadal, Djokovic Regain Their Form In Rome?
Nadal Leads Spanish Party in Madrid, Closes on No. 2 Ranking
Andy Murray Withdraws From Madrid Due To A Back Injury

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98 Comments for Nadal, Federer, Djokovic Finally Take the Madrid Court; Del Potro Wins, Verdasco Upset

jane Says:

Packed day, utterly packed! Looking forward to it.


Colin Says:

Here’s hoping for Murray, not only that he’s fully fit, but that his mind is still in Monte Carlo mode. If he and that unpredictable brain are both OK, he could be a threat to anybody in Madrid.


Cherry Says:

Del Potro is really determined to get another title! I hope he continues to have good games!www.tennisround.com


jane Says:

Nole through. Nadal and Delpo are cruising, no speed bumps so far.


jane Says:

The Delpo match is done and dusted: his serve and forehand were 110% today! Cilic hadn’t a chance, and when he did get himself into a point he didn’t think too much about where to hit it or what type of shot to hit; just banged the ball right back to Delpo for a put away. Cilic has more variety than this, but it was not on display today. No volleys, droppers, lobs, slices – just hitting hard into Delpo’s strike zone. That said, Delpo was hitting with so much force that Marin probably didn’t know what hit him or to do! : D Much like Hotsauce in the Estoril final (although Hotsauce is not playing well and hasn’t been for some time – already out of this event too). Another thing I noticed is that Delpo has been starting matches really quickly and strongly; going for an immediate break, for example. This doesn’t strike me as something he did in the past I don’t think? Anyhow, everyone can heave a sigh of relief, as Delpo surely didn’t look injured; he looked formidable!

So does Nadal, of course; he just finished the first set over Baggy 6-1.

This is setting up to be an amazing match up between Delpo and the King of clay. Can’t wait to see what happens!!!


stu Says:

Did you watch the Nole match, jane? He still not serving great?

Impressed with Delpo, Vamos!


jane Says:

Just scores and stats for Nole match stu – his serve looked good in the stats categories: 2 aces and 2 doubles, but faced only 2 break points and saved both, and his first serve percentage was 71% with wins on 82% of those and 56% of second serves. As first matches go, I’d say those numbers look good. He said in his presser the following: “conditions here are really fast and its hard to control the ball”

Also to clarify the 29-0 Lendl record, it was *1989* in which he started the season with that record; the earlier reports were regarding *1986*. So Nole needs one more win to tie Lendl and two more to surpass him. Next up is G-Lo, who has been playing well, and then if he gets through that one, he’s likely to face Ferrer. That will be a tough test as Nole has never beaten Ferrer on clay, I don’t think.

Nadal and Delpo is on!! Should be a cracker, that.


jane Says:

Interesting…Safina is in a battle with Gorgeous.


sheila Says:

out of the top players, id have 2say federer is the most vulnerable and hes got points 2defend. if he loses in 1st rd & murray advances deep in tournament wont that put him in striking distance of #3 spot? rogers my guy, but his results of late seem 2b less than stellar insofar as making it 2 a final in tournaments. hope somehow he can get thru lopez, however i wont be surprised if he loses, but nevertheless i will as always be disappointed.


scineram Says:

How is Delpo in the tournament? He was talking about withdrawal yesterday. He should be looking out for that injury.

Roger solid against Feliciano. The first threat to him I see is Söderling in the quarters.


skeezerweezer Says:

Fed has to play waaaaaayyy better if he thinks he is gonna make a run in this tourney. He use to toy with this guy….Commentators said he has been in the gym since Monte Carlo…


steve-o Says:

Crazy tiebreak! All set points so far have been erased with brilliant serving.


jane Says:

F-Lo has been playing well, but Fed breaks through.


steve-o Says:

Federer takes 9 set points to finally bag the first set, in a tiebreak which went to 14-12.


steve-o Says:

My mistake: the tiebreak was 15-13.


dari Says:

What’s with the back and forth on the nole/ lendl record?
Atp is sticking by it being 29 wins for lendl.
http://m.atpworldtour.com/News/Tennis/2011/05/18/Madrid-Wednesday-Djokovic-Soderling-Win.aspx
Where are people getting the 25 from?


zinaldo Says:

Federer is strange to me really,yes he is slower but he does train maybe not as hard or as long as he used to but he does so why is he shanking and miss hitting so many easy balls.

What i have always said was that mentally roger never had it,he was simply too good of a player to ever had the need to be mentally tough ala roy jones jr whereas people like nadal or mayweather as they are not only great athletes but mentally tough enough to cope when the going gets whereas roger chickens out or starts to lose whenever he faces nadal or a difficult opponent go figure.

People ain’t scared anymore not saying that it was the reason he won so much because he could back it up with impressive winners and all around game but now days he just seems like he just doesn’t believe in himself anymore but his stubborness is so high he is trying to make us believe he can still hang with the best,yes at his very best but his average best is just not good enough anymore,amazingly strange how someone so good can get this bad so quickly.

What worries me as well is the fact that i wonder if he still works as hard on the practice court as we all know practice makes perfect.


jane Says:

Dari “Where are people getting the 25 from?”

That is Lendl’s 1986 start whereas 29 was his 1989 start, hence the earlier confusion.


jane Says:

Zinaldo, “What worries me as well is the fact that i wonder if he still works as hard on the practice court as we all know practice makes perfect.”.

Read sonewhere that he has been in the gym lots since Monte Carlo.


dari Says:

Oh, thanks Jane for clarifying!
So then novak is gonna break two records then


jane Says:

Lol, not really dari, and Nole needs to beat, likely, Ferrer to surpass Lendl, which could be difficult.

Quite a different tiebreak in this second set… F-Lo dominated.


The fighter Says:

What’s up with Roger?


The fighter Says:

Was not he leading 5-3 in the first set?


jane Says:

^ Yes but F-Lo broke back to force a monster tiebreak.


jane Says:

Rafa speaking with confidence re: upcoming Delpo match:

“He has a lot of control of the ball. If I manage to get him moving and to make him feel uncomfortable then I can hurt him. It’s quite difficult to manage this because he’s very tall and from the very back he can hit very good shots but it’s true that I am in good form recently”


jane Says:

Want to share the nice picture of Delpo & Nole dari posted for us on the challenge bracket too:

http://yfrog.com/h067991723j


Queen Says:

Wow, Fed is sweating…


grendel Says:

Lopez was hot coming into this match and he sure still is. Brutal first encounter for Federer. Lopez is not supposed to have a good return – but he’s been handling Fed’s serve a little better, I’d say, than other way round.

Apart from 2nd set tie break – demolition job by Lopez – nip and tuck, I’d say. All to play for.


jane Says:

That Fed is servwing first in this third takes a bit of pressure off and puts more on F-Lo to hang with him. Yep, Lopez has been playing well…watched him last weekend in Serbia and versus Raonic. Figured this could be a battle for Fed, well both of them really.


dari Says:

Fed need to break here- yes good backhand- and hold on, no use in another tie break! He needs to PUSH


grendel Says:

Fed has 3 break points thanks to the one poor volley from Lopez plus some 2nd serves. Cannot take advantage however. Lopez held his nerve quite well – but he was also gifted by Federer. Not good.


jane Says:

This is a nail-biter. If Fed loses he kills my bracket! But it is building up to quite the finale…!


grendel Says:

Well, in this set, Lopez making no inroads whatsoever on Fed’s serve. Stroll in the park for Fed on serve. Lopwz, too, serving well – fancy a claycourt match being dominated by serve – but Fed with more chances. However, winning games easily means nothing. How often d o you not see service games being held with the greatest of ease – and then, a little lapse, and it’s broken? Still, Federer looks like he’s focusing pretty well.


jane Says:

grendel, this is an unusual clay court though, as we know. It plays really fast.


zinaldo Says:

There is working hard in the gym and working hitting on the practice court which is what federer should be doing,he doesn’t really need to be getting stronger as he has enough strength,tactical and technical ability to beat anyone but when you shank as much as he seems to do now days,it has to be put down to practice,federer should stop trying to beat this younger and stronger guys at their and find ways to be the genius federer who could come up with every answer whenever faced with adversity.


grendel Says:

Lopez has been serving great, Federer has been serving like a master – including the 2nd serve. This bodes well for the future, especially Wimbledon. I really thought Fed’s serve had gone.


dari Says:

DO I watch the tie break or not. Somebody help me with the answer?


jane Says:

Yes dari…you must!


dari Says:

As soon as I wrote it I knew the answer! How coukd I not?
Come ON, Rog!


jane Says:

24 aces for Fed to 22 for F-lo – you’re right grendel – Fed’s serve is alive and well!


jane Says:

Hotsauce is standing and cheering on F-Lo. ha ha… Poor return there from Fed on a second serve. : /


jane Says:

Oh bad smash by F-Lo, lol! And DOH!


jane Says:

F-Lo now unraveling?? Hmmm.


zinaldo Says:

That seems to be the only thing that works for him which suggests that he must work a lot on it,i mean federer isn’t being overpowered by the likes of djokovic but he is shanking even easy put away so i would be working my backside properly on the court so i don’t do it as often but monsieur is too big headed to try and fix something that could make him at stand up this players a lot better.


jane Says:

5 ALL! “Come on” from Fed.


jane Says:

Verdasco hangs head in despair, but F-Lo gets one point. 6-5 F-Lo.


jane Says:

Fed hits an ace = 6 All.


jane Says:

Error from F-Lo. Match point Fed? Verdasco’s praying…

F-Lo really blew it 5-2 lead in the tiebreak!

But he’s got 7 all, can he hit another ace? Or will Fed, the fighter today, hang tough?


jane Says:

Nope another error – Fed to serve for the match, should finish it here!


jane Says:

Congrats to Fed, who scrapes through.

Oh these close ones: bliss for one; despair for the other…


zinaldo Says:

A coward needed a bigger coward to hand him the match really is this what roger game has become,really he better hope he doesn’t meet nadal,djoker or del potro on this because there could be murder on the court.


dari Says:

Holy fucking shit.
They cancelled my dentist appointment today and I must say I would have preferred getting a filling to that heart attack of a match. Fed needs to thank f-Lo for that smash miss!
Good news, cause there actually is a bit:
-Fed must have been working on.his serve the past two weeks (getting ready for Wimbledon!)
-If this doesn’t toughen him up, don’t know what will. By the skin.of his teeth, that fed!
- Malisse next.


tennisfansince76 Says:

Flo had Fed in his cross hairs and then he blinked. a smash for 6-2 would have been all but match. a persistent problem for lower ranked players when they get close to taking down big game; the mental belief that they can do it. for Flo the moment came and he did not believe in himself


jane Says:

Feel a tad sad for Deliciano, as he should’ve or at least could’ve won, really.

Fed’s defense though, it earned him that chance to stay in the point, and F-Lo couldn’t close it.

That’s the thing about defense: I have seen it time and again from Fed, Nadal, Djoko and Murray – keeping themselves in the point, and just maybe…the other guy will miss. And often they do, because they aren’t expecting the ball to come back in the first place, so it’s a bit surprising, and then to have it coming back in what *must* seem to them like very SLOW motion, giving them all this time extra to think about it, and the crowd to inhale and hold their collective breath, and then …. blooper or winner.

Clearly, F-Lo couldn’t put it out of his mind and he made several errors after that.

Wow. Great match! :)


dari Says:

I think my last post got moderated due to the curse words.
Edited version:
They cancelled my dentist appointment today and I must say I would have preferred getting a filling to that heart attack of a match. Fed needs to thank f-Lo for that smash miss!

Good news, cause there actually is a bit:

-Fed must have been working on.his serve the past two weeks (getting ready for Wimbledon!)

-If this doesn’t toughen him up, don’t know what will. By the skin.of his teeth, that fed!

- Malisse next.
Thanks for winning today, roger, but you better pick it up tomorrow a bit!


grendel Says:

Fed scrapes thru! That was a fun, fun match – and you have to say partly because of errors at the wrong moments. if players never make mistakes, somehow it’s all a bit daunting. This was so human….
In the end, Lopez cracked – only once, but that was enough. he’d engineered amini-break beautifully, tempting Federer to run round his bh when it wasn’t quite the time, thus giving Lopez the opportunity – if he dared – to really crack the hell out of his bh. He dared, coming down on it and smacking it into the corner, unreachably. A point or two later, he played quite beautifully to earn an easy smash for his 2nd break – and somehow fluffed it completely. he smiled, the crowd laughed and so on – but really, it wasn’t funny. You sensed his chance might have gone. He was still a break up – but, Federer reprieved is dangerous, and so it proved.

It’s strange, Lopez was mentally heroic thruout – but one mental lapse, catastrophe! What a game tennis is.


skeezerweezer Says:

dari,

LOL @ 4:12!

zinaldo,

Your posts about the status of Fed’s game mostly makes sense to me. I disagree somewhat in that Fed IS getting overpowered more and more. For the most part, he use to dictate, not so much now, it comes in flashes. Whatever work he needs to do he needs to work hard doing it. How about leaving the Fam at home for a little bit, don’t stay at the Ritz all the time, quit flying private jets to tourneys. Just sayin that go back to the basics and have long hitting sessions and gym stuff. It can’t hurt em, no?

Well, anyways….congrats to Fed. Mentally he held it together, which was good. However, his play has to step up dramatically if he expects to ever win another title. Let’s face it, he hasn’t won a tourney since last year. It’s May 2011.

It used to be 99% of the time only players like a Nadal, Murray, Novak and the like would give him trouble. Now you get the Meltzers and F-lo’s…errr..what’s there ranking?

Not to demean there efforts…just sayin..

Hope Fed can find the Fedex in his game that delivered convincing victories on time.


dari Says:

Skeezer: “How about leaving the Fam at home for a little bit, don’t stay at the Ritz all the time, quit flying private jets to tourneys”
That’s tough love, skeezer. I agree, it couldn’t hurt, but how do you go about breaking that to your wife?
Plus they’re in Europe now, so close to home, it doesn’t make any sense for the fam to ne apart. I don’t know if fed wants that anyway. Being without your wife and kids when you don’t have to be? Who knows what they are thinking.
I am a “back to basics” proponent for fed though, whatever that may entail.


Skeezerweezer Says:

^yeah who am I to judge? Maybe he is working on his game as hard as he can and this is the best he can do…..and that time has caught up and players have too….just hopin there is some gas in the tank left for him, high octane, not the regular crap…:)


El Flaco Says:

F-Lo definitely choked on that overhead. What a shame. He played a great match. Fed always seems to come out on top against the Spaniards except of course for one player. Federer is undefeated (30-0) against Verdasco, Almagro, Lopez, Ferrer and G-Lo. The only one who has a recent win is Montanes. Ferrero beat Fed a couple times 11 years ago.


madmax Says:

Hi skeezer,

just a reminder. Fed HAS won a tourney this year. Doha in January/February I believe? Even tho’ only 250. A win is a win.

Holy moly everyone. I have the match recorded as was on a course today. I just felt sick reading your comments. I didn’t scroll down to find out the end. But serious heart attack tennis.

grendel, i believe the last time an opponent *blinked* was roddick/fed final wimbledon. No opportunities for breaks of serve.

Lopez must have had some serious weetabix this morning. Unbelievable tennis by the sounds of it. I am going to watch the match now. I am holding my breath even though I read the last post skeeze.

thanks for the running commentary tennis junkies.


madmax Says:

i listened to roger’s latest interview. He seems so very confident and I believe him. I just wonder why it doesn’t transition into his game. Self-belief is half the battle. It can’t have gone that quickly. To watch him play on hard courts at the end of the year when he was so awesome. Really awesome. And this court has been compared to the hard court, as it used to be one and the balls are flying faster –

made for fed! Come on Fed!

Beeeeee lievvvvveeeee!!!!!!!!!!!


dari Says:

El Flaco, thanks for that stat. It entirely explains fed’s nadal problem ;)
I don’t think you’re alone in saying fed could do more skeeze, the fans just wanna see him get another major, whatever it takes! :)


andrea Says:

c’mon delpo. make this clay tournament interesting.


Kimmi Says:

DELPOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, is it possible really??


Kimmi Says:

rematch of georges and wozniacki tomorrow. go georges!

at least fed has another chance tomorrow. another tough opponent in malisse.


Kimmi Says:

sharapova about to lose to cibulkova. Thats it..7-5 6-4.


El Flaco Says:

Does anyone know the last time Federer saved a match point and won the match?


skeezerweezer Says:

^ Can’t recall….but now that this fan has had time to cool off Fed did serve pretty awesome, actually serving an ace at match point against him….:)

Hey Madmax!!!! Thanks for the clarification :-). I am only hard on the guy cause he’s my Fav. I rely upon you to come through with something positive and you always do :)


grendel Says:

Kimmi, I wanted to watch Sharapova/Cibulkova, but Eurosport stopped showing tennis after Safarova beat Jankovic. I’ve always enjoyed Safarova’s tennis, b.t.w, very free flowing – and unreliable. I also, I have to confess, rather like the looks on her. I remember a character in Graham Greene who can never get that attracted to a stylishly beautiful woman (and I think we can safely say he represents Greene’s point of view) because such women give him an inferiority complex. I understand this, which may account for why I personally find Safarova much more physically appealing than Sharapova. I daresay Berdych would strongly disapprove of my reasoning, however.

Anyway, I love the little I’ve seen of Cibulkova (her tennis), don’t think she’s played Sharpie before (?), and am irritated Eurosport pulled out. Glad she won, and hope she progresses.


Kimmi Says:

i don’t think there was a feed for sharapova match today. tennistv streaming did not have it. they tend to show all matches that are aired on tv.

I just followed the score…. intermittently!..earlier in the first set I remember sharapova was leading 3-1, when i lokked again it was 7-5 cilbulkova. i dont see sharapova winning big tournaments again..

I agree about safarova beauty. kind of special. her eyes are what standing out for me. she has very unique eyes.

Hoping georges beat wozniacki again :)


Eric Says:

Kimmi, curious call on Sharapova not winning any more big tournaments just after she has returned to the top 10 for the first time in almost two and a half years. She’s only 24, which means she has 5 more years of peak tennis potential. I agree she has several huge issues she needs to overcome, but I think her talent and determination are untouched…


dari Says:

Re: lucie’s looks- let’s just say I trust t-berd’s taste.
IMO, they kinda look alike, if you told me they were bro and sis I would say of course.
Tennis channel doesn’t seem to be playing any women’s matches, so I didn’t notice Maria’s was cut off.
Not surprised cibulkova won, she runs and hits hard- good for the clay.
As for woz and goerges rematch, i would be happy with either winning- maybe like goerges’ tennis better, but I’m ready for eod to get a big clay title, she has never won on the red stuff before, just the green.


jane Says:

Agree, it’s Safarova’s eyes Kimmi: can you imagine if her and Berdych ever have children; those kids would have the most beautiful eyes and dimples. Safarova and Berdych are an adorable couple; there are lots of good pictures of the two. And i love how they root each other on.


dari Says:

And I didn’t mention it before,but great job to delpo today and good luck tomorrow! Hope he gives Rafa at least a scare.
But I was checking around to see.if Madrid court was just giving everybody aces, and nobody came close to fed and Fe-Lo’s numbers. Good stuff


Kimmi Says:

eric, her loses are disappointing. and they have been going on like forever, makes me lose hope on her.

I agree, she is still young and that she is a fighter. don’t get me wrong, i would like her to be back at the top again but i think players have figured her out. so its getting tougher and tougher for her.


jane Says:

I think for Sharapova to have a fighting chance she has to get her serve firing again, like it hasn’t since the shoulder problems. Adding a little more variety wouldn’t hurt. But she is still a great mover and excellent returner. She can do it. It is in the serve; the serve is the thing.


Kimmi Says:

delpo playing better than IW when he met rafa. but i don’t think it is good enough to beat the king of clay. the guys has not lost a match since 2 years ago..amazing!

if delpo miraculously beat rafa..it will probably be the biggest tennis shock since soderling beat rafa at the AO ?


Kimmi Says:

that should read FO


grendel Says:

it’s true that Safarova and Berdych “kinda look alike” as dari says.

Even so, I find I have no difficulty in telling them apart.


Kimmi Says:

happy for muzza. bellucci tomorrow. never played! lets go muzza.

Too many matches tomorrow, they had to move djoko and muzza to court 2. lets hope fed is recovered enough, his match is early on centre court.

But the match of the day is definitely rafa vs delpo. hope it lives up to the hype. ATP site calls it rafa delpo blockbuster.


jane Says:

I think Kimmi that movement could be a key factor in Rafa vs. Delpo. Also if Rafa gets too defensive and retreats back behind the baseline hitting to mid court, Delpo may be able to pummel that topspin into submission. I am very interested to see what happens.


tennisfansince76 Says:

@Jane Sharapova is most definitely not a great mover. she is average at best, at a distinct disadvantage against some of the better athletes on the Women’s tour in that department. her game was always predicated on excellent serving/return of serving/controlling the point. that is why her service problems have hurt her so much. of course service problems would hurt any player. compare her to Dementieva who had big time problems w/ her serve but was able to often fight thru it w/ her big groundies and great movement. Sharapova has the groundies but not the movement. if she is in a situation where the other player can make her move alot she is in trouble(see last couple of years).


Tennis Vagabond Says:

The way Rafa plays on clay gives DelPo a great chance, as Jane points out. That said, its an ENORMOUs, like, of epic proportions task, to beat Rafa. I do believe DelPo at his best may be the best equipped player in the game to do it, but I don’t know that he’s there yet. Problem is, he may not get Rafa in his draw at the French, and the court is much slower there. So it may be now or never for DelPo, and I suspect the answer is… never.


Kimmi Says:

vagabond, you could be right but lets see the match first before you count delpo out.

i agree about the draw at french, he will probably get fed….and rafa will get his spanish friends


Kimberly Says:

kimmi says if delpo miraculously beat rafa..it will probably be the biggest tennis shock since soderling beat rafa at the AO ?
_____________________________________________

I respectfully disagree here kimmi.

I don’t think so, i think the fact that people are predicting shows its not anything of the likes of Soda 09. Nobody gave Sodelring any notice or chance. I didn’t even bother to watch the match. When I saw the score I legitimately thought that cbssports must have had it reversed. Considering several pundits are claiming Delpo is going to take it, and that the match is termed a “blockbuster” I don’t think they are comparable.

There have been plenty of tennis shocks since RG09
Berdych beating Fed and Djokovic at Wimby
Ferrer beating Nadal at AO
Delpo beating Nadal and Fed at USO09

Vegas is favoring Nadal 4-1. or 1-4. Not a huge spread. That can hardly be called “biggest tennis shock.” Most of the other matches except Murray Bellucci (also 4-1) are 12-1.

I’m hoping Rafa will take this one. If he does I’m thinking this tournament is his. But I’m not sure at all like I was for Soderling in 2009 and I am extremely nervous!!!!! Vamos Rafa the Bull!!!!


Kimberly Says:

by the way all, colino5 cried himself to sleep over fernando verdasco.


Kimmi Says:

kimberly – I hear you. but i still feel it will one of the biggest upsets. the guy (rafa) has not lost a match on clay since 2 years ago… how is that not one of the biggest upsets? delpo coming back from injury, he is ranked outside top 30. the only top 10 player he is beaten is soderling etc etc *scratching head* looking for more reason to make delpo the biggest underdog…

i think people like me are hyping this match up coz we want to see a little bit of a challenge on clay. if not delpo, I am also hoping for djokovic to be able to do it here….or ANYONE! sorry rafa fans..

BUT..big BUT. rafa is the bull, the king of clay. i might as well forget it. he will probably win this tournament too…and rome and the french..aaaargh!


Kimmi Says:

ha-ha colin05 is funny. verdasco is lucky to get such a fan.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Hey Kimmi, I’m a fan of DelPo’s and I’d love to see someone challenge Rafa on clay, so I’m in his corner.
To Kimberley’s point, the wording “since Soderling” means that match is not to be included.

Were the Berdych/Fed or Ferrer/Rafa results less expected? Dunno. Rafa seems more invincible on clay than Fed did at Wimbledon where he’d been really hanging on by his teeth. No matter how you cut it, it would be a big upset.


Kimberly Says:

He didn’t go to sleep, he’s still hysterical. Don’t understand why he loves veredasco so. And mad that Murray won. Saying that silly Judy must have stayed in England instead of coming to Madrid like she was supposed to to make Andy lose!

Personally I have no idea Judy was there or not but this is the angry ramblings of a little child. We a talking about the same person whole birthday party is the same day as the French ope. Final. Wants me tonschedule the party so rafa will have time ton collect then trophy and fly over from Paris to hit tennis balls with him and his buddies at the party. And pay for nadals flight here.


Kimmi Says:

c’mon colin05 muzza is very good. we all love muzza here :) and judy is a good mum too, just like kimberly. judy likes to watch her son win.

Good night all. its getting late here..


Kimberly Says:

My two wishes for tomorrow

1 rafa wins
2 my new yellow sharapova dress arrives from the tennis warehouse before my evening match. They ship two day mail so tomorrow is the estimated date of arrival.

The sad thing is I’m not sure which is more important.


contador Says:

the dress is the most important! Kimberly. of course!

rafa loses it’s gonna wreck my already worst yet bracket. vamos rafa!

as much as i like delpo, really can’t believe he’ll be anything more than 2 sets for rafa. but it’s great for delpo to have a chance to play rafa on clay. he gets to gauge himself against the best and know what he needs to work on. :

ps. left a couple notes of encouragement for colinO5 but he always writes to skeezer! so cute.

tsonga-soderling is promising. maybe 3 sets of good tennis.


madmax Says:

Skeeze,

catch you on the new thread.


jane Says:

Yeah tennisfansince76, it’s true. Maria isn’t a Wozniaki type who can chase everything down, nor a Clijsters who can do running splits. She can even seem clunky on the court. I guess when I said great mover maybe great anticipator would have been better. She keeps her feet hopping there on the baseline and seems to be able to anticipate well, which helps with controlling the point. But maybe Kimmi is right. Maybe other players have “figured her out” and she needs to evolve her game?


grendel Says:

as I see it, Sharapova IS evolved. She has always, from a very young age, worked extremely hard to wring the utmost from a slightly limited repertoire. She has developed an excellent drop shot, and she keeps trying on the volley – I liken her to Roddick here, who has also done his very best in a department he doesn’t naturally excel in. And sometimes (with Roddick)it comes off, and sometimes it looks aweful. Same with Sharpie, except she’s a bit less adventurous.And she does her best on the movement front, there are built in limits here. Like terminal velocity so to speak.

Sharapova’s spirit will render her dangerous for a long time. But as a spoiler, I feel, not as a potential champion.


jane Says:

Personally I hope Sharapova works on her clay game in particular, and especially on her movement on the clay. The reasons I hope this are twofold: (a) the French Open is the only slam she needs to complete her career slam, and (b) she may be able to excel on clay without a killer serve, so perhaps this is the surface that Maria and her team could target as a new milestone – particularly if her serve is never going to be the weapon it once was?

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1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Roger Federer2 Maria Sharapova
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