Federer v. Tsonga in Rome; Nadal Starts New Streak, Djokovic Looks to Continue His
by Sean Randall | May 11th, 2011
  • 77 Comments

The top names in tennis take the court Wednesday at the Rome Masters with Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer all featured on Court Centrale.

The Red-hot Djokovic will look to continue his perfect season and extend his current win streak to 35 against qualifier Lukas Kubot. The Pole is actually a pretty decent player but Djokovic will be the heavy favorite when things kick off at noon local time (6am ET).

After his big win Sunday in Madrid over Nadal, if the Serb can win Rome and get some help from Rafa, Djokovic could be No. 1 in less than a week.

“My ambition or goal is to be No. 1 and my dream is to win Wimbledon so these are two things that I always wanted to do,” said Djokovic. “The No. 1 ranking is obviously getting closer to me but it still takes a lot of work to get there and if I do get there in a couple of weeks or months or a couple of years it does not matter. I will try to keep working to get to this position.”

How about a couple of days, Novak? It could happen. Though I still get a feeling Novak might not be around for the weekend. We’ll see.

While Djokovic continues his streak, Nadal begins anew. The Spaniard who saw his 37 match clay winning streak convincingly snapped on Sunday will be more than motivated to set things right this week in Rome. Rafa opens against Italian qualifier Paolo Lorenzi in what should be a lop-sided affair.

Federer rounds out the men’s card against JW Tsonga in the match of the day. Federer has beaten Tsonga in three of four meetings, and on clay if the Swiss is on his game his should get through. Still, Tsonga with his power can be a force on any surface. So it should be a good match.

“He is probably best on grass or hard courts – indoors etc,” Federer said of the Frenchman. “But I still think on clay he remains as dangerous because he has that wonderful serve with that the first punch with his forehand and I have to say that he has really good physical ability to run around the court.”

David Ferrer is also on against Marin Cilic and Sam Querrey faces Nicolas Almagro in two other good matches.

One result worth mention today was the complete collapse of Fernando Verdasco. If you missed it, the volatile Verdasco led Robin Soderling serving 6-2, 5-4, 40-0 with three match points before… well, you know the rest. Fernando isn’t known as one of the best finishers on the tour and today was just another cruel example.

Not-Hot Sauce double faulted twice in that game (didn’t he double fault down match point to Nadal in that Australian Open epic?) and that was the end of it. Soderling won three straight games to take the second set and eventually the match 2-6, 7-5, 6-4. Ouch.

Andy Murray also put up a three set win over Xavier Malisse.

Tennis Channel has full live coverage and ESPN3.com has live streaming. So plenty of options to catch this last big tennis stop before the French Open which is just 10 days or so away!

WEDNESDAY ROME SCHEDULE

CENTRALE start 12:00 noon
[Q] L Kubot (POL) vs [2] N Djokovic (SRB) – ATP
[1] R Nadal (ESP) vs [Q] P Lorenzi (ITA) – ATP
[15] F Pennetta (ITA) or B Mattek-Sands (USA) vs J Gajdosova (AUS) – WTA – Possible Court Change
Not Before 7:30 PM
[3] R Federer (SUI) vs J Tsonga (FRA) – ATP
Not Before 9:00 PM
[1] C Wozniacki (DEN) vs [Q] A Rodionova (AUS) – WTA

PIETRANGELI start 12:00 noon
[14] S Wawrinka (SUI) vs [WC] F Volandri (ITA) – ATP
L Safarova (CZE) vs [5] J Jankovic (SRB) – WTA
F Lopez (ESP) vs P Kohlschreiber (GER) – ATP
Not Before 7:30 PM
[3] V Azarenka (BLR) vs S Errani (ITA) – WTA
M Cilic (CRO) vs [6] D Ferrer (ESP) – ATP


Also Check Out:
Federer, Nadal Two Sets From Rome Masters Final Clash
Federer, Nadal Seeded to Meet in Rome Semifinals
Djokovic Holds Slim Chance to Overtake Nadal for No. 1 Ranking at Rome, Will He Even Play?
Serena Sizzles, Venus Flames and Ana’s Back in Rome
Nadal Tries To Get On Track, Federer Looks To Remain Hot In Rome; Williams Sisters In Action

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77 Comments for Federer v. Tsonga in Rome; Nadal Starts New Streak, Djokovic Looks to Continue His

Eric Says:

To be fair, the Soda-Verdasco match wasn’t exactly “Verdasco owning Soda…Verdasco owning Soda….Verdasco owning Soda….Verdasco chokes!”

It was more like a basketball game between tight teams. One would just blow the other away for a few games, then fall behind. Soderling had just broken Verdasco is his previous service game too when Verdy let him back in with the double faults. (Not saying it wasn’t a choke, just that Soda earned it too.)


jane Says:

“Not-Hot Sauce” So, Cold Sauce? :) I missed it. Saw the first set and thought to myself “Hotsauce is back”? But I guess he cooled off. Or something. He needs … something. He’s really been floundering this season, down to #17 now. I guess he’ll play Nice again, and I read that Roddick is playing there also.


steve-o Says:

No love for the Stan-the-Man’s win over fabulous Fabio Fognini? If only for no other reason than giving us an opportunity to say “Fabio Fognini” three times fast. That really is an awesome name.


Kimmi Says:

bagel and breadstick so far. c’mon kubot, no more baking goods


Eric Says:

Is anyone else watching this Djoko-Kubot match?

Djoko is still looking ^&%&^% scary. Almost unsportingly so, in fact, and he’s gotten unbelievably lucky with net cords like four times in barely ten games. Scary good AND scary lucky. I don’t envy the rest of his enemies this week.


Eric Says:

Kimmi, I think Nole wanted that double bagel. Did you see how he went for broke trying to win Kubot’s game points? Almost unsporting, I still say, although I guess you can’t fault him for wanting to win asap.


Kimmi Says:

kubot says no more baking goods. 2 games in the second set. good for you kubot


Kimmi Says:

I see that eric. the guy is on a mission

ha-ha kubot with brilliant FH winner..and another. what are we having here!

ha-ha no one hits winners to djoko three time in a row..


Eric Says:

They’re actually playing pretty level now in this set. Kubot farted away a chance to hold in his first game, but he’s held each time since then.

Djokovic honestly looks tired, or possibly just bored — and Kubot has actually hit a lot more winners than him now in the second set. I’m not suggesting he’s going to break back, but the first set blowout was pretty anomalous…


Jeaninho Says:

Is this guy Djokovic for real or just a short spell of luck


tfouto Says:

short? at least long spell of luck… but i dont think its luck…


Lulu Iberica Says:

This is horrible! Djoker is probably going to be #1 very soon! Forget beating Novak, at the moment Rafa can’t handle Lorenzi. Rafa is playing crap! Though Lorenzi is playing well – guess I shouldn’t have knocked Bellucci for losing to him.


Lulu Iberica Says:

Rafa DF. 9 forehand UEs in 9 games. Has Djoker rattled him through and through?


Eric Says:

Rafa always has spells of terrible play early in tournaments. He almost loses at Wimbledon every year in the first few rounds, but he never will because he can step it up at will. And he’s still not in any trouble at all against Lorenzi, just keeping level.


Jeaninho Says:

Dont know tfou, but my gut feeling tells me its always easier to start like this, rollercoaster if you will. Will he be able to keep this up, and I really mean keeping it up.


Lulu Iberica Says:

Eric, I’m losing faith in his ability to step it up at will these days. My nerves are shot! I think I was better off only paying attn starting in about the round of 16 at slams.

What has happened to Rafa’s angles, though? Lately he hits everything to the middle of the court, and even Lorenzi is making him pay?


Eric Says:

Well it looks like you posted just in time for Rafa to start taking it to Lorenzi. :)

Also don’t forget that when you haven’t played someone (much) before it takes a while to figure out how best to destroy them…


tfouto Says:

I am sure Nadal will break to 7-5… i dont see Nadal loosing this game…

Jeaninho we have to wait and see…


Lulu Iberica Says:

C’mon, Rafa! Get it together and stop this guy. Novak is resting.


Jeaninho Says:

Would anyone mind playing broadcaster….AT work here in South Africa and not near a television set. Checking the scores on the atp website is not the real deal


Dory Says:

Yes please. I can’t watch the match too. Only watching the live scores. :( Lorenzi takes it to a tie break!!!


Lulu Iberica Says:

Commentators just said this is Rafa’s first TB in Rome since 2009 final vs Djoko. This is NOT normal. Rafa’s body language is negative, too.


Jeaninho Says:

Yep, seems like the roman dictator RAFAEL is heading for disaster guys. Before I comment, could all the hardcore RAFA fans identify themselves please. Dont wanna get into trouble


Lulu Iberica Says:

Finally, Rafa gets a passing shot by Lorenzi.


Lulu Iberica Says:

Sorry, guys my posting is too slow to be useful.


Cherry Says:

Nadal and Djokovic are out to prove themselves worthy of being the top ranking players! I admire those two. http://www.tennisround.com


Jeaninho Says:

Iberica = Spain etc etc????? Could it be that RAFA is running low on self-confidence? or what seems to be the problem


Dory Says:

What Lorenzi takes first set!!!!


Eric Says:

WOW! OKAY! WOW.

Before we all jump on Rafa, though, Lorenzi is playing AMAZING tennis. His defense against even the BEST shots Rafa could, or ever could have, mustered, was phenomenal on that set point.

AMAZING.

Rafa will get it in 3, but still amazing.


Lulu Iberica Says:

I am a hardcore Rafa fan. I am losing Internet connection in like 10 mins, but I don’t know if I want to watch anyway. This is too sad.


Jeaninho Says:

Another minute of silence for RAFA’s first set please


tfouto Says:

Nadal will win the next 2 sets you’ll see.


Dory Says:

I’m a Fed fan biggest of all, then dearest Nole. But I respect Rafa. Don’t worry he’ll win in 3.


Dory Says:

Breaks Lorenzi already.


Lulu Iberica Says:

Jeaninho, yes, Iberica as in Spain, Portugal, but I am not Spanish or Portugese. I wanted a name that would identify me with Nadal, but wasn’t like “nadalfan#1″ or something. My only connection with Spain is my love of Rafa, and a vacation to Andalusia last summer. Going to Barcelona this summer. I do love Spain!


Eric Says:

And he gets a break on the very first service game of the second set. Popcorn time, kids.


tfouto Says:

incredible Nadal always break back after loosing a set…


Jeaninho Says:

Being a Fed and Djoker fan simultaneously is schizophrenic. You could never share the Fed’s artistry with the Djoker’s hooliganism. Its unreal


Lulu Iberica Says:

Ok, maybe I can quit worrying now! Better, deeper hitting from Rafa!


Jeaninho Says:

LOL, imagine the headlines in the papers tomorrow. RAFAEL NADAL IS IN THE TWILIGHT OF HIS ONCE ILLUSTRIOUS CAREER


Lulu Iberica Says:

Ugly missed smash from Rafa.


El Flaco Says:

This guy Lorenzi is the male version of Schiavone. Similar style of play and exact same grunt. I think Lorenzi will run out of gas even if Rafa doesn’t pick up his play.


tennislover Says:

Jeaninho- try fromsportcom.com


Jeaninho Says:

Federer all the way


Lulu Iberica Says:

Oh, that was ugly to see. Vamos, Rafi!


Dory Says:

Djokovic style is hooliganism? Looks like you don’t know what you’re talking about. Djokovic also plays natural, effortless and precision tennis. Of course, the GOAT Fed has a much deeper variety of shots. Unfortunately in the modern era of power hitters, one is somewhat forced to play what you probably call “hooliganism”. If you play like Michael Llodra all the time (did I mention I love his game), you stand no chance of reaching the very top.


Lulu Iberica Says:

Jeaninho, it’s going to happen to all of them, and I don’t think Rafa’s far behind Roger. Who knows, maybe Rafa’s fall will be more rapid and dramatic. Rafa may not be shanking, but he’s hitting everything long at the moment.


Dory Says:

Lorenzi breaks back!


Lulu Iberica Says:

Wow, why is this guy so low ranked? Did he eat his Wheaties this morning, or what?


Lulu Iberica Says:

Rafa, if you keep this up, I won’t be able to make fun of Andy Murray anymore!


Kimberly Says:

wow, depressing, im on my way to the gym. Rafa needs a big wake up call. This guy is playing well but Rafa shots not very impressive.


Dory Says:

Holding serve this long on clay against Nadal is itself a feat.


tfouto Says:

this game is over… Nadal break back and will win the 3rd…


Jeaninho Says:

Dory I beg to differ but I’ ll give you a headstart. Struggle with yourself and maybe tennislover as well. OK THEN, DJOKO IS THE MAFIA. MORE SOPHISTICATED TYPE OF HOOLIGANISM


Lulu Iberica Says:

Rafa must now serve a bagel to make up for that horrible first set!


Lulu Iberica Says:

Yay! Bagel! Too bad for Lorenzi — he was going to be a national hero. Now, Rafa had better rest and prep for tomorrow because neither Kohls nor F-Lo will be an easy win. Rooting for F-Lo here.

Also, go Mardy Fish! Would be great to see an American man do well on clay.


Kimberly Says:

lulu—wow, apparently i left at the right or wrong moment, 4 all when I left, I guess the guy never won another game.


El Flaco Says:

Ferrer withdrew so another easy draw for Rafa. He needs a few quick matches after that debacle with Lorenzi.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Ferrer withdrew? Haha, Fed must be furious. He was hoping to get Rafa softened up some more. Fed is looking really good against Tsonga right now, killer groundstrokes.


margot Says:

Lady Luck smiling on Cilic. Rafa looking quite a bit “softened” to me, is more necessary?


Peter D Says:

Fed did a stupid thing at 4:0, 40:30 and instead of going 5:0 now has to save bps at 5:2.
Makes me think these missed opportunities to dish out bagels and breadsticks are costing him. A win is a win, but the aura is not the same anymore. He should take those opportunities and not waste them!


Huh Says:

Rafa bein pushed to 3 sets by lorenzi is strange. Lorenzi may’ve played som amazin tennis, but that doesnt mean Rafa shoulda been pushed to 3 sets. M sure Rafa didnt purposefully do it. I’m wonderin if Rafa did the wrong thing by playin Barcelona. IMHO it wasnt really necessary for him to deny that title to poor Ferrer. Lets see what happens. However I really consider Rafa as the HEAVY fave at RG even thou Rafa’s appearin slightly vulnerabl. Even to beat a relativly below par(by his standards) Rafa at RG is kinda impossibl for the current crop of players IMO. But would be glad to see someone else than Rafa winning FO.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Few decent matches tomorrow: Fed v Gasquet; Rafa v FLopez; Nole v Wawrinka. All have potential for good tennis if the underdogs bring A-game.


stu Says:

I know it’s a long shot (or is it, Jane? ;) ) but if Djoko goes on to win Rome (assuming Rafa makes it to the semis) and beats Rafa in the final of the French, that one win will mean:
The #1 ranking for Nole, probably a guaranteed YE ranking too
The longest winning streak in the OE
His first clay Slam
His longest winning streak on clay (20 matches, not too shabby!)
5 consecutive finals wins over Rafa

This is my new wish for Nole. Can he do it, Jane?


jane Says:

Probably a pipe dream stu ;)

But, we both know I said that when you suggested the IW & Miami double after he’d won the AO and Dubai. This is all such strange, wondrous territory for Nole fans! I am truly happy for him. I just hope he stays level-headed and healthy.

So to answer your question, I doubt it. But wouldn’t that be outrageous!!?


Kimberly Says:

Rafael Nadal’s face book post, i don’t understand how you guys can’t love this guy:

Todo es relativo en la vida. Yo casi veo mi partido de hoy como una tragedia (por lo mal que jugue) pero la realidad es que la verdadera tragedia es lo ocurrido en Lorca (Murcia). Mi mas profundo pesame a todas las familias afectadas. Everything in life is relative. I saw my match today as a tragedy but the real tragedy was the death of 8 people in Lorca today after the Earthquake. My condolences to the families!
21 minutes ago ·LikeUnlike ·


Kimmi Says:

just watching tsonga vs federer match. tsonga could not keep up with federer. too many errors. federer has few horrible forehand errors too. last game he has to save few break back points.

Needs to polish his FH a little. gasquet next.


Kimmi Says:

some post match interview from rafa.

“I think there is a difference between Madrid and Rome, different conditions and the altitude and the speed of the ball and everything is completely different,” said Nadal.

“After losing the final there makes everything more difficult and you know, you do not have time for practise and you are a little bit more tired and you arrive a little bit more sad because you lost the final and all these facts make it difficult.”

So he says coming to rome he was still sad about losing the final in madrid! interesting!

I think these djokovic loses are really hurting rafa emotionally. He must find it difficult that somebody else is challenging him on clay. or maybe because he already lost to nole 2 times before that?

cant wait to see how he is going to deal with that..i am sure next time they meet rafa will be a “mad” rafa. when rafa is mad, watch out everyone.


Nina Says:

Djoko destroyed Kabot easily today, the man is in scary form, nobody can touch him. Rafa struggled a lot with his first match but I wouldn’t read too much into it. Are we heading to another Nole-Rafa final? What a blockbuster would that be.


Kimmi Says:

i was just watching a video clip of djokovic post match interview..it was funny. the first question was

“we were expecting a double bagel there?”

even djokovic looked a little embarrassed. he went on talking about how difficult it is to change surface and first matches are always difficult and so on and so on…

i wonder how djokovic is taking all this in, the fact that everyone is expecting him to win easily. does he feel some pressure out there?

so far so good.

wawrinka confidence is very bad right now. i would not be surprised if there is some baking goods :)


jane Says:

Wawa is comfortable on Rome clay; he has been in the finals here, and he has just taken out 2 crowd favorites in Fognini and Volandri, so maybe that helped his confidence a little? Anyhow, go Nole! I hope he can keep up these winning ways! :)


Kimmi Says:

I was watching a little bit of wawa match this morning jane (they put his match on after djokovic and before rafa). the commentator was saying that, he had a chat with wawa coach – Peter Lundgren. peter was saying how wawa confidence is affecting him in his matches recently. making errors at big points etc.

since IW, wawa has lost 3 first round matches. he must have played well on all those matches coz they went to 3 sets but could not finish it. i think losing close matches must have hurt more…

OK, i was exaggerating re: baking goods from nole, he is a 14 ranked player after all, so he must do something good. but no..he is not beating this nole.


Nada fan Says:

im a big Rafa fan but Nole’s play this season is more than impressive. After hanging around thee third spot for years it’s as if he decided it’s time to be number one. This is really good for the sport I think as one player fades another rises to challenge the current #1. This will make for an intense rest of season. It’s popcorn time.


jane Says:

Kimberly @6:29 – yeah, that is good what Rafa posted, it puts things into prespective. I was very saddened to hear about the earthquake and wish the best to all affected.


Skeezerweezer Says:

I’m sorry, a guy comes out of battles and says he is sad? C’mon man! Guys?

Kimmi, said it right, mad he should be, saying sad is just another Rafa ploy?


dari Says:

A friend emailed me a link to this-another viral vid from fed?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmaN5xvvJCU&feature=youtube_gdata_player
Not as good as William tell, but its fed :)


Another Roger Federer Trick Shot Video: Prank on Coach [Video] Says:

[...] to poster Dari for finding this new gem of a video featuring Roger Federer performing another trick [...]

Top story: Nadal in Barcelona, Sharapova in Stuttgart: Previews
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Rankings
ATP - Apr 14 WTA - Apr 14
1 Rafael Nadal1 Serena Williams
2 Novak Djokovic2 Na Li
3 Stanislas Wawrinka3 Agnieszka Radwanska
4 Roger Federer4 Victoria Azarenka
5 Tomas Berdych5 Simona Halep
6 David Ferrer6 Petra Kvitova
7 Juan Martin Del Potro7 Angelique Kerber
8 Andy Murray8 Jelena Jankovic
9 Richard Gasquet9 Maria Sharapova
10 Milos Raonic10 Dominika Cibulkova
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