Djokovic, Nadal Near Rome Final, But First Face Saturday Tests; Sharapova v. Wozniacki SF
by Sean Randall | May 13th, 2011, 11:08 pm
  • 468 Comments

It looks like we are heading for another Novak Djokovic-Rafael Nadal showdown Sunday at the Rome Tennis Masters. The only foils left are Andy Murray, who gets the Serb, and Richard Gasquet who has the task of knocking out Nadal.

Today, Djokovic continued his torrid play crushing Robin Soderling 6-3, 6-0. Soderling, a competent, big-serving, big-hitting, two-time French Open finalist could manage just three games (THREE!!) against Djokovic the Destroyer. Unreal.

“I was aware of the importance of the match and the quality of my opponent,” Djokovic said. “He’s a big server, a very big hitter, so I really needed to stay focused the whole time.”

Djokovic’s win streak climbs to 37 straight, 35 this year alone. And if he can keep playing like this it’s not going to end. No one is even close to him right now. The guy is in more of a zone than anyone I think I’ve ever seen, Federer included (would a peak 2006 version of Federer beat this guy? I’m not so sure of that!).

Novak now gets Murray tomorrow evening in the Rome semifinals. The Scot needed three sets to turn away Florian Mayer 1-6, 6-1, 6-1.

As for Nadal, he’s still shaking off that virus. After saying he was feeling better Thursday the fever returned Friday but Rafa still took care of Marin Cilic in routine fashion 6-1, 6-3 to seal the No. 1 ranking through the French Open and put him into another clay semifinal.

“Today I woke up well, but still had fever last night,” said Nadal. “Before the match, I had fever again.”

Rafa, though, was pleased by his performance and says he’s felt better after the win.

“[I feel] much better,” he said. “I think I started the match with a greater intensity and so I was able to move faster and to play more aggressive with the legs and if I play more aggressive with the legs then the shots are automatically more aggressive.”

Next for Nadal is Gasquet who backed up his impressive Thursday win over Roger Federer by ousting Tomas Berdych 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Unfortunately for the Frenchman, he’s 0-8 career against Nadal including a 6-4, 6-2 win at Monte Carlo.

“For sure it will be tough for me, but I want to be there, it is a very big match for me,” said Gasquet. “I am not the favourite of the match tomorrow and I have nothing to lose and I just want to enjoy another match against Rafa.”

If Rafa’s still a little sick and Gasquet can get that backhand humming, the serve cracking and be steady with his forehand he has a shot. Another key will be court positioning. Nadal will pound the ball to the Gasquet backhand corner and if the Richard can maintain his ground he’s in the match. If he starts getting pushed off the baseline then he’s in serious trouble.

Gasquet is ultra talented and tomorrow, like in the Federer match, there’s not much expected of him, so he should and hopefully will just let er rip.

As for the Djokovic-Murray, I give Djokovic the big edge. As I said if he plays like he did yesterday (against Wawrinka) and today against Soderling he’s unbeatable. That simple.

If Novak’s off – and eventually he will be! – Murray has the serve, the power and the variety to capitalize in a way similar to what we saw of him last month against Rafa at Monte Carlo, or maybe just get another cortisone shot. And like Gasquet no one is picking him to win here (unlike the Australian Open final!) so pressure shouldn’t be a problem.

“He’s a great opponent,” said Djokovic of Andy. “We know each other very well. We played last time in the Australian Open final. Obviously he’s motivated to win, so it’s going to be a tough one.”

Djokovic also leads their series 5-3 but Murray had won three straight until that Australian Open final. But Novak is playing much better tennis now (if that’s possible) and Murray’s on his least favorite of surfaces.

In the women’s bracket, top ranking Caroline Wozniacki will meet Maria Sharapova in one semifinal. In the other it’s Sam Stosur against Li Na. Sharapova got through Victoria Azarenka retired due to an elbow injury with the Russian leading in the second 4-6, 3-0. There was a bit of a scuttle after the handshake with Azarenka mouthing “F’ing Bitch” but apparently it was not meant for Maria.

Tennis Channel will have live coverage of Nadal at 8am ET and then Djokovic-Murray at 2pm ET. ESPN3.com has live streaming.

SATURDAY ROME SCHEDULE

CENTRALE start 12:00 noon
[4] N Li (CHN) vs [6] S Stosur (AUS) – WTA

Not Before 2:00 PM
[1] R Nadal (ESP) vs [16] R Gasquet (FRA) – ATP

Not Before 4:00 PM
[1] C Wozniacki (DEN) vs [7] M Sharapova (RUS) – WTA

Not Before 8:00 PM
[4] A Murray (GBR) vs [2] N Djokovic (SRB) – ATP
J Isner (USA) / S Querrey (USA) vs [WC] S Bolelli (ITA) / F Fognini (ITA) – ATP

PIETRANGELI start 1:00 pm
[3] V King (USA) / Y Shvedova (KAZ) vs [2] K Peschke (CZE) / K Srebotnik (SLO) – WTA
A Dulgheru (ROU) / J Gajdosova (AUS) vs S Peng (CHN) / J Zheng (CHN) – WTA

Not Before 5:00 PM
M Fish (USA) / A Roddick (USA) vs C Berlocq (ARG) / J Nieminen (FIN) – ATP


Also Check Out:
Sharapova Beats French Open Finalist Stosur to Win Rome
Wozniacki, Sharapova on Track for Wimbledon Meeting After Saturday Wins
Stosur Finally Beats Sharapova; Wozniacki Wins At WTA Championships
Serena v Wozniacki, Sharapova v Ivanovic in Cincy Semifinals
Wozniacki Loses, Wraps Up No. 1; Sharapova Withdraws From WTA Champs

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468 Comments for Djokovic, Nadal Near Rome Final, But First Face Saturday Tests; Sharapova v. Wozniacki SF

Kimmi Says:

No way gas-man is beating rafa.

I think murray vs djoko will be a tough match. i like muzza very much but i don’t think he will be able to give nadal a big challenge. so tennis sake, i say go nole. but if muzza wants to prove me wrong..i say go for it muzza.


Kimmi Says:

^^for tennis sake


Kimberly Says:

Go Maria! But I probably give her even less of a chance than Murray!


Lynne Says:

Has Gasquet been to a sports psychologist? He seemed very focused this week. Glad to see him doing well just because his game when working is a thing of beauty. TBerdych was arguing with the chair again today – don’t know why he persists with that. He was getting up in the guy’s face – I think that’s why he got a warning, although the ATP commentators thought it unfair because he didn’t use bad language. Obviously bad language does NOT get you a warning if Madrid was any indication.
Starting to wonder if Djokovic was holding back his real game all this time because he didn’t want to humiliate everybody on the tour. Unless he completely loses it, I don’t think Murray has a chance.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Hahahahaha Rafa playin mind games and minimizing his chances, errrrr, just in case, again. Rafa SHOULD crush Gas, building up drama for fans is futile. How is that fever Rafa? It managed to get you barely into a Semi final……just sayin… Such a crock….. 99% of the tour players would want to be sick or have a fever if they could be in the semis.


jojostryus Says:

Skeeze, Roger managed to place himself in a few semi stages during his ‘mono’ time.. anything to say about that?


Lulu Iberica Says:

I like hearing Gasquet say, “I just want to enjoy another match against Rafa.” He has enjoyed the previous 8 losses so much, hopefully he will get #9 tomorrow! This comment, taken together with his comment about winning over Roger giving him confidence to take into the FO, makes me think he has mentally conceded tomorrow’s match already.


Dory Says:

Anyone know more about the fever? Over-exertion can also cause one to fall ill.


Colin Says:

Skeezer, what is this irritating phrase that’s become so popular online: “just sayin’”? It’s as though you are being apologetic. Have the courage of your convictions!


Mila Says:

Novak complains that he has to work during the weekend. He seems to be in great spirits.

http://www.facebook.com/djokovic.official


Kimmi Says:

amazing how gasquet win his previous two matches. he lost the first set but still fight it out to win..against players who own him before. amazing!

give us a good match reeshard!


Kimmi Says:

gas-k… beautiful backhand down the line. but should not let nadal boss him


Kimmi Says:

rafa very clever serving on break points..c’mon gas-k dont give up


Kimmi Says:

gas-k hanging with rafa..crunch time now.


Daniel Says:

This is a very strange match, you hardly ser Nadal hitting a backhand. Seems is easier for him to run fron His BH against Gasquet.

Gasquet serving great and His BH is superb.


Kimmi Says:

ah, so easy to break in that set. he had his chances but no cigar..

oh well, i think that it for reshaard, i don’t see a come back here


Kimmi Says:

daniel..yes rafa bossing with the FH a lot in this match. if you let rafa boss with the FH there is only one outcome


Kimmi Says:

needs to take these break points..c’mon reeeeshard.
no….big serve again


Kimmi Says:

wow, rafa is rafa.


Daniel Says:

Third game that Gasquet has BP and Nadal served great, Nadal has BP in one but converted.


Kimmi Says:

gas-k 0-4 break chances.
rafa 1-1 break chances.

that says it all in this first set


Kimmi Says:

30-1 record for rafa in rome. insane!


Ike Says:

hey Kimmi, Daniel!
Richard was bit unlucky, but still good set from him. Hopefully he can raise his level a little bit and take the second set


Ike Says:

Kimmi “30-1 record for rafa in rome. insane!”
his record is even better in Monte-Carlo 39-1


Ike Says:

oh well BPs for Rafa, looks like Richard is not going to give much of a fight now……..


Kimmi Says:

early break for rafa…bye bye gas-k


Ike Says:

Kimmi
i want to c Nole beat Rafa in the finals tomorrow and then in the FO


Kimmi Says:

Hi ike. amazing with these records. thats is why i am praying for a challenge. rafa is very good but for tennis sake we need some challenge.


Kimmi Says:

me too ike. anyone beat rafa tomorrow and FO..anyone. Go noleeeeee for me too ike!


Ike Says:

Daniel re. Rafa’s no BH…whenever Rafa runs around his BH and hits FH, it obviously means he is not confident of BH and he can’t beat Nole playing like that


Daniel Says:

From the moment there was pressure in the match, Gasquet once again folded.


Daniel Says:

Nadal in top gear now.


Ike Says:

kimmi
Rafa’s record in Cincy 11-7….poor guy can’t handle the fastest hard court :(


Ike Says:

it’s bit strange…Gasquet is French and i still root for him LOL
maybe because of his one handed BH
if he had been true professional he would have own lot more…


Kimmi Says:

ike but he won the USO..that is what matters


Ike Says:

kimmi…yes but i was talking about “fast” courts…


Ike Says:

kimmi…i will be very surprised if Rafa wins another USO, i doubt if he can even make into the finals again


Ike Says:

i m not Fed fan, but i think Rafa will not win more than 14-15 GS


Ike Says:

looking forward to match between Andy & Nole, hopefully Andy can at least take a set from Nole and make the match interesting


tfouto Says:

i hope Nole wins Murray at straight sets… only because a game with 3 sets give to much advantage to Nadal with more 6 hours rest!!! I dont understand how on earth can this be possible…


tfouto Says:

i am saying this because i prefer a interesting final then a interesting semi-final…


Dory Says:

So it was another Gasquet washout. Fed really should have won that match. Hopefully, Nole will win against Andy and offer some resistance to Nadal or possibly win again. :P So many matches are going totally one sided on clay. As if Nole and Nadal are the only two players that can play on clay.


Lulu Iberica Says:

Congrats, Rafa! I can’t believe I had to miss the first set and only got to see the blowout in the second. I haven’t watched Gasquet much and was hoping to see his vaunted beautiful game.

Ike, you’re right about Rafa’s backhand. His fans have been noticing its absence all week. I must say he was otherwise playing much better today. Serve was great!

Let’s hope Murray and Djoko give us more drama. Three long, grueling sets would be nice! ;)


marrisv Says:

I don’t see how Murray can trouble Novak in this form on clay. He has to just go for it.


Kimmi Says:

Sharapova giving woz a game at the mo. go sharpie..make the match interesting. we all know woz wont give up..


Lulu Iberica Says:

Oh, ho! Maria up a break! Maybe I need to watch this.


Kimmi Says:

should have won that point maria..too tetantive


Kimberly Says:

SHarpova fails to serve out the set. She needs to avoid long rallies and take it to her. Come on Maria!


Lulu Iberica Says:

Of course, Maria broken back :(


Kimmi Says:

ah, maria cant hold when she breaks..

5-5


Kimmi Says:

ok..wozniacki cant hold her serve either


Kimberly Says:

second chance to serve it out, now take it!


Lulu Iberica Says:

Another break. OK, HOLD, Maria! Do it!


Kimmi Says:

wow, sharapova good at returning serve..aggressive. breaks again. serving for the set for second time..or is it the third!


Kimmi Says:

WOW! sharapova has played well..not too much serving nightmare in this set. flashes of the sharapova of old?


Lulu Iberica Says:

Awesome! I wondered why Maria was hitting some shots right back to Woz, but that seemed to work the best, drawing errors. Probably at lot of power on those shots!


grendel Says:

Some player – I think Gasquet – said the clay was very fast. Interesting.

Talking about the Madrid final, my son mentioned on the phone to me “did you see how angry Nadal was?” I certainly saw that he was peeved, aggrieved, displeased, miffed and – in short – pissed off. That’s normal. Roddick looks like that all the time these days, and Nadal will have truly hated being knocked off his clay perch by the very chap who had just beaten him twice. So I did, indeed, observe the thunderclouds forming on Nadal’s face. But I thought nothing particularly of it, it just seemed par for the course for someone in Nadal’s position. Uneasy lies the head and so on.

But perhaps this is mistaken. It’s going to be hugely important for Nadal to beat Djokovic, both as a satisfying act of revenge and also as a potent signal for the French. For the latter reason, it is also important that Djokovic wins – I think.

For there is the question of pressure. Is it really possible to beat Nadal 3 times on the trot, on clay? Wouldn’t it be better, somehow,to lose, and then to start again? But the trouble with that scenario is: confidence will be gained by one and lost by the other. So on the whole, no. Djokovic needs to beat Nadal to have his best chance at RG, and sod this instance of that tiresome phenomenon, the gambler’s fallacy.

Of course, there is the question of Murray. In some ways, the ideal solution would be for Murray to beat Djokovic, since that will not seriously impede Djokovic’s confidence, if at all. For although the gambler’s fallacy is just that – a fallacy – it is not without a certain resonance. Because if Djokovic is anyway normal, there must be some part of his soul arguing energetically with another:”but look here, my dear chap, nobody beats Nadal on the clay 3 times running!” The other part of the Djokovic soul replies:”gambler’s fallacy!” But somehow this is not quite convincing, seems a bit theoretical. The first part of the Djokovic soul leaps in, sneering:” Huh! what do you know about gambler’s fallacy and all that crap, fact is: 3 times in a row – on top of 2 in America!”. The second part of the Djokovic soul shuffles uneasily.

Thus are the seeds of doubt sown.

But what if Djokovic beats Murray in a long, exhausting match? Surely that will prove to be a paramount example of the pyrrhic victory. You can just see Nadal licking his chops at the prospect. Djokovic had better hope he disposes of Murray easily.

From the point of view of the spectator,this would be a pity in one way, but a relief in another. Because an easy victory in the semi ensures a tough battle in the final. Ideal, of course, would be a competitive semi and a competitive final (so long as the right man wins).


Kimberly Says:

uggh so for an error ridden second set!


Kimmi Says:

ah maria DF after working hard to get the adv


Lulu Iberica Says:

Oh, damn that ill-timed double fault! C’mon, Maria! Get her this game!


Lulu Iberica Says:

For Maria, that was really good movement!


Kimmi Says:

what a game to break. sharapova! she is good to watch


Kimmi Says:

break, break, break..now hold sharpie


Kimmi Says:

what a hold!


Lulu Iberica Says:

No trouble holding there!


Kimmi Says:

break…go sharapova, she beat you like 1000 times before, you need one win at least. HOLD!


Kimmi Says:

3 match points


Kimberly Says:

COME ON!!!!!!

GREAT GREAT GREAT WIN!!!!

LOVE IT!!!!


Kimmi Says:

she won..that was the sharapova of old! so happy! good for her beating world number one as well. congrats sharpie!


Kimmi Says:

congrats kimberly..and sharapova. very happy for her.


Kimmi Says:

was that the fiancé on court? nice looking man..


Kimmi Says:

hope the winner of the next match does not spend too much time on court


madmax Says:

jojostryus Says:
Skeeze, Roger managed to place himself in a few semi stages during his ‘mono’ time.. anything to say about that?

May 14th, 2011 at 12:24 am

as skeeze says, roger doesn’t go on about it each and every time jojo.

Rafa is not only the king of clay, but the king of playing mind games. You cant win a match and be so poorly. It doesn’t make any sense. If you are healthy enough to play a match, then just play it and don’t say that you are unwell, so that should you lose you have an excuse.

He does this everytime and it detracts from the great champion that he already is.

He knows he is the favourite in every match, he is the world number 1 for heaven’s sake! To say each and eery time that the other opponent whether that be novak or federer is the favourite is just lying. Let’s see waht he says when the FO rolls around and Wimbledon for that matter.

And don’t say it’s about being humble. It’s mind trickery at its best and everyone knows it.

If you are that ill, you don’t play.

And as for Roger’s mono, he didn’t know he had it until he had tests for it prior to the SF’s. It was abundantly cleaer that he was sluggish and slow; not playing his best tennis. There is a huge difference between knowing that you are ill but you are well enough to play (rafa) and not knowing you are ill, but still playing (roger in 2008).

Skeezer has a point.


Kimmi Says:

azarenka is another one who is prone to injury. did she also retire against georges in sturgart. seem like she can play two tournament in a row..

what injury this time..hope not serious…coz she has been playing well. she has a chance at the FO


jane Says:

Yahoo for Sharapova! :)


Kimmi Says:

^cant play two tournaments in a row


Lulu Iberica Says:

Congratulations to Maria! Women’s tennis will get a lot more interesting if she can keep playing like this.


jane Says:

I read in that link Sean posted that Azarenka has retired something like 10 times just within the last year due to injury, so yes, she is definitely one prone to injury.


jane Says:

Fish/Roddick won and are in the doubles final. So if Isner/Querrey win it’ll be an all American men’s doubles final…on clay. :) In fact Isner/Querrey went deep in Madrid too, didn’t they? I wonder why neither of these guys have been able to translate the doubles success into singles. Querrey won the clay title in Serbia last year, but he cannot seem to get anything going this year. Too bad. Anyhow, nice success in the doubles, and it gives someone like Andy R to get in more practice. I think he is still playing Nice too.


Kimmi Says:

if djoko wins today, he qualifies for WTF..

http://tennislive.free.fr/race


jane Says:

grendel, just read your post. You capture well the confusion and mixed feeling that I am have, vicariously obviously, for Djoko & Murray today. Murray is my second fave right behind Nole which means I am even more torn. I guess I should just say, let the best man win today … Easily. I think…? : / (scratches head) A battle would be nice too, though. And better, certainly, if the streak ends today. Better for the vanquished’s ego. But. Then. Tomorrow. Oh crap. Into the hands of the tennis gods… Let them decide.


Kimmi Says:

lets go! the battle of the greatest two handed back hand in the game..


jane Says:

S/b “I have” or “I am having” – see? Even mixing up verb tenses.


kriket Says:

Djoko must beat Murray in less than an hour… so I could “enjoy” the Eurovision Song finale :)


grendel Says:

jane, given the circs, I should think most people, from different points of view, have mixed feelings. And yet in the end, as the beginning approaches, all this counts for nothing, and you just look forward to a titillating match. i can easily imagine wanting first one, then the other player to win. And I’m not even a fan of either….


Kimmi Says:

Spreading the court well..nole! muzza fight!


Kimmi Says:

wow! great start from the king of tennis this year.

looks like will be a great rafa nole tomorrow..


skeezerweezer Says:

Seles in the House watchin the Rayole. Still looks good :)


kriket Says:

Doesn’t look like the usual slow start for Novak this time. He’s sticking it to Murray from the very beginning.


Kimmi Says:

murray just hit the line on that break point..lucky save? but good enough


Kimmi Says:

great serve..another save wow


marrisv Says:

Wow. Murray fighting hard to stay in the rallies.


Kimmi Says:

DF muzza..bad bad bad.


Ben Pronin Says:

Clear indication of just how well Djokovic is playing. Murray is playing some of his best points just to stay in his own service game. Djokovic really is playing like he’s from another planet.


Kimmi Says:

oh early break!


Ben Pronin Says:

I think Murray is definitely a great thinker on the court so I really wonder what his game plan is. I mean, what the hell do you attack? The backhand? The forehand? Bring him in with drop shots? Can’t out rally him, that’s for sure.


Kimmi Says:

djoko drop shots worked great so fa


Ben Pronin Says:

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player who can hit so well in any given direction. Cross court, down the line, inside in, inside out, it’s unreal.


kriket Says:

Seems like Đoko’s strategy is fairly simple. Beat Murray asap and save the strength for yet another Rafa beating :)
Murray already in swearing mode…


Kimmi Says:

first missed dropper. muzza with a break back point.


Kimmi Says:

aaargh he missed it..this match is good.


marrisv Says:

Ohhh what a point by Murray….just missed the pass.


Kimmi Says:

i thought it was the wrong shot going straight at djoko but it worked out OK


Kimmi Says:

murray playing well now..fighting. another break back chance


marrisv Says:

What a pass… Yes


Kimmi Says:

murray is a “pass” master. always hitting some outrageous passes


dari Says:

Go muzz!


Kimmi Says:

break..we have a match. muzza cranking it up and so is nole..


kriket Says:

Oh well, at least it’s not boring :)


tfouto Says:

Nadal must be happy now… Physical long game it seems…

Murray playing really good…


Eric Says:

Wow…that was frankly unexpected. Murray somehow has taken the shine off Djokovic’s shots, even though Nole is often still dictating play. Very interesting match here — didn’t expect it to be this competitive. Of course there’s still plenty of time for one of them to go on a bender… :)


grendel Says:

The standard of tennis is quite incredibly high (especially at this point by Murray), and also long drawn out. If it carries on like this all the way, the winner will need to be taken out on a stretcher. Who will be left for Nadal to face?


Kimmi Says:

djoko looks to be breaking right back..


Ben Pronin Says:

That right there is the difference between these two right now: it’s all mental, also Djokovic is amazing.


Kimmi Says:

murray cant afford games like that..ok! djoko needs to hold so that he finish this early.


Kimmi Says:

dropper..unreal


grendel Says:

yes, Djokovic has that steel. Murray’s a battler, not quite the same thing


Eric Says:

Okay, the Djokovic train is back on the rails…all going as expected again.


tfouto Says:

What a dropshot… Sublime


Lulu Iberica Says:

Nobody is beating Djoko until his form falls off somewhat. This is insane.


Ben Pronin Says:

It’s amazing how in all of Djokovic’s past 3 matches (including this one), his opponents play maybe as well as they can and yet the scorelines still come out to this.


Eric Says:

Andy…you won the point eventually, but that was shameful. You’re supposed to try to hit those easy smashes away from your opponent and with some pace…not pat them away direct to the other guy…


Eric Says:

Lol…breadstick, here we come. Nole is a god.


marrisv Says:

Murray folding here….


kriket Says:

Looks like it might be yet another rout after all.


Ike Says:

Lulu
who will stop Nole’s winning streak? i don’t think Rafa, Roger, Andy can do that


Kimmi Says:

geez, djoko is going to give his best friend a bread stick..bad bad nole.

murray fight..break him..no baking goods today :(


Ike Says:

kimmi, u still here :)


kriket Says:

Eric, still wanna bet on Murray? :)


Ike Says:

what really propelled Nole to this level?


skeezerweezer Says:

6-1? Really…didn’t expect that at the start of this match. But then, this is a guy who hasn’t lost a match…..and he doesn’t look dogged today. Nole da man, at the moment.


Eric Says:

Kriket, did I ever say I would bet on Murray? No. He’s been playing like the world. 30 since the AO, plus I dislike him…

I said I would bet on Rafa. Maybe that’s what you meant. And if so, yes – the Nole train is going to crash into the Rafa switching yard…okay that metaphor sucked. :)


Kimmi Says:

aah bread stick!\

OK, second set, muzza needs to hold his serve first.


Lulu Iberica Says:

Ike, I don’t think anybody can do it unless Djoko’s level comes down.


Ike Says:

he still has the same coach, same racquet…they say he has got stronger (physically and mentally), his confidence has grown, but still it seems bit of a mystery….


skeezerweezer Says:

Kinda glad my fav is not in Nole’s cross hairs right now. It would be painful to watch….better to stay out of the picture and wait till this party is over….


Kimmi Says:

ike – hello! be here tomorrow or else!


Ike Says:

i meant Nole


Ike Says:

kimmi, lulu, i will be here tomorrow as always with full of confidence that Nole will beat Rafa :)
i have a bad feeling though ……


Kimmi Says:

ha-ha skeezer..


Lulu Iberica Says:

If Nole plays like this tomorrow Rafa cannot beat him. I just hope Rafa plays well and doesn’t wind up with a scoreline like this. Maybe eventually Rafa will end Djoko’s streak, because Novak will have to have an off day sometime and Rafa has been the next best player for a while.


Kimmi Says:

Murray HOLD! great to see. maybe a come back is looming..


marrisv Says:

Djokovic switched to a newer version of the head racket with slightly different specs from his old one at the start of this season.


skeezerweezer Says:

Murray started out with a strong service game in the 2nd….let’s wait and see…..


Ike Says:

just my opinion….Rafa, Roger, Andy would have attack Nole’s FH, they can’t beat him on his BH side, it’s just rock solid…also attack his second serve


dari Says:

skeeze :)


dari Says:

Futile, ike!


Eric Says:

Kimmi, expect a much closer set maybe 6-4 or even 7-6, but not a comeback… realistic expectations here ;)

Nole is playing better than last year because is taking every single shot with confidence and he isn’t running into mental or physical brick walls. Just an ineffable state of mind… which will end eventually when someone breaks his streak. Then we will get back to outstanding Nole instead of godlike Nole.


Kimmi Says:

lulu, rafa has been playing very well. especially today. he is never the underdog on clay.

hope nole wins so we have a great match


kriket Says:

Eric, my bad, you said you would bet on Rafa. Even still.. :)


Adam Says:

djoko is playing well but his body language seems off, not sure what his deal is


Ike Says:

marrisv
i m not so sure about racquet…he still uses Head YouTek. Now it’s IG speed instead of Speed Pro…all the top pros are always tweaking with their racquet, so i m not sue how much of his success is because of the racquet


Ben Pronin Says:

Would the streak being snapped really dampen his confidence that much?


jane Says:

Murray lost a set to Mayer like that too: he can come back. Seen it many a time.

Ike, it is not a mystery imo. The lack of serve made Nole become the best returner. The holisitic doctor helped him get his head and diet straight. His fitness trainer keeps him flexible, though part of this is genetic. His coach helped him fix his serve. And the DC win gave him belief, which has been increasing with each win. I think there were signs he was coming back to his best form during the USO, but the serve wasn’t fully back and the doctor was newly hired.

Anyhow that is my take.

Bruins vs. Canucks… Still possible. :)


Ike Says:

dari Says:

Futile, ike!

???


Kimmi Says:

bad miss. djoko looks mad


Lulu Iberica Says:

Kimmi, he has been playing well, definitely improved the last couple of matches. Still, hardcore fans who know more than me have been complaining about him being too far behind the baseline, esp. on 2nd serve returns, not using the backhand (speculate no confidence, inside-out forehands not as strong. We will see.


Eric Says:

Yeah, but Djokovic >>>>> Meyer. Still, it looks like this is going to be very close from here on out. Djokovic is experiencing his second set slump like we saw against Kubot. I wonder if he’s really at 100% physically.


dari Says:

I follow a tennis reporter on twitter. I don’t think there’s tscripts around, so he’s given some good tidbit from.the conferences. Here’s a few from Rafa’ s today.
RT @NeilHarmanTimes Rafa “If I play Novak, I have lost my status as favourite, so I will not have the 100 per cent pressure.”
RT @NeilHarmanTimes Serbian journalist to Rafa – will you be watching match tonight? “In the hotel is not the channel” he said.
Lol
RT @NeilHarmanTimes Rafa also said he would be “stupid” not to prefer to play Murray. “I have lost my last 3 matches to Djokovic.”
That’s all I got. Will be a great match tomorrow!


Adam Says:

djokos footwork and body language has really dropped off, cant blame him though, after winning this many matches its pretty to lose your intensity and interest


Ike Says:

jane, you are back, here is one song for that…hope you like it.
Eminem – Without Me
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVkUvmDQ3HY


Adam Says:

djokos footwork and body language has really dropped off, cant blame him though, after winning this many matches its pretty easy to lose your intensity and interest


Ben Pronin Says:

Mayer is no Djokovic.


Ike Says:

jane, very good analysis re. Nole….what i wonder is did he a new GF during that time? :)


marrisv Says:

Ike – Agree. I didn’t say the racket change was the reason for the success.


dari Says:

Ike- I was making a joke about your suggestions for how players can break down novak right now, as in “resistance is futile” against novak right now :)


Ike Says:

i hope Nole wins this match, then finals tomorrow, then FO, then Wimbledon, USO, all the tournaments that he plays this year!!!!!!!!!!!


Ike Says:

dari, attack the strength of the player, break his confidence, win the match, simple :)


Kimmi Says:

dari–thanks for that. fav not fav blah blah..

Murray much better in this set…


Ike Says:

jane, yes Bruins beat Canucks, win the series 4-3 :)


dari Says:

Yes, simple. Tell that to the last 20 some-odd dudes.
Still on serve…


marrisv Says:

Murray first serve is keeping him in this set.


Ike Says:

jane, re. “His coach helped him fix his serve” why didn’t he fix it year ago? Nole might have own USO


Kimmi Says:

big HOLD for muzza! lets see how djoko responds


jane Says:

Ike, no new GF: still Jelena.

Canucks beat Bruins 4-3, in Vancouver, Party time!

Me? Slim Shady? Haha, nah that’d be you. :)

Murray often starts slow…we’ve seen it a million times, right Kimmi?


Ike Says:

dari, if Nadal uses the same tactics as Madrid finals, he is bound to lose…Nadal i think 5/6 at nets in Madrid, he should try that more, stop those long baseline rallies for a change, stop running around the BH, leaving the court wide open for Nole to hit the winners with either BH or FH


jane Says:

Ike re: serve. Well he was working on changing his serve with Martin until clay season last year, so I suppose it takes a while to get the old motion back etc.


skeezerweezer Says:

My best moments watching Murray play is when he leaves the body language home. He can play great tennis when he puts everything else aside. Like the Nike saying…….just do it.


Kimmi Says:

its true jane. but i also think djoko cooled off a little.


dari Says:

Ooh, Vancouver, Jane, very fun and beautiful place!


Ike Says:

jane, my bad Bruins beat Canucks series 4-2 party in Boston! You are invited :)


Eric Says:

Djokovic definitely starting to feel a lot of pressure here!


marrisv Says:

Murray has to take it to him noe 0-30


Kimmi Says:

DF..bad bad. djoko in trouble here


Lulu Iberica Says:

dari, I saw those comments from Rafa earlier and had to LOL at him! He really does hate to be in the cross hairs.

Kimmi, see, Rafa has already decided in his mind he isn’t the favorite, and telling me that he is will not affect anything. As for me, I won’t be crushed if he loses. That already happened (soul crushing) in Madrid. If he loses at FO I will be dispirited again, though.


Eric Says:

Skeeze, yeah, for sure. Murray looked positive even chomping that breadstick. Hopefully this means he’ll start playing well consistently again!


Ike Says:

jane, u don’t like Eminem? what about you kimmi? u like real slim shady?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wZ4SqVyME0


jane Says:

Yes, Kimmi, probably a combination of one heating up and the other cooling off. Nole often slumps second set, or he has at times for sure.

Ike, you are invited to out party too. ;)


Daniel Says:

I feel sorry for Murray, evadirmos he tries to be agressive, He misses. Sometimes He doesn’t even know what to do with a short ball. He must change something in order to ímprove His offense. I just don’t know what?!


Eric Says:

Nole really folding under the pressure here. A rash of errors, probably more than his entire match against Soda… :0

To his credit, Murray is definitely taking it to Djoko now, I didn’t really expect that.

Up the break…


marrisv Says:

Breakkkk yes


dari Says:

Lulu- I was more laughing at the fact that they don’t have the channel at his hotel. Hehe
Agree skeeze re Murray body language
And a break!


Kimmi Says:

lulu – rafa is ALWAYS not the fav then he goes on to beat everybody..nothing new there.


Lulu Iberica Says:

OK, Murray! Congrats on the break. Keep it up!


Ike Says:

kimmi…head cooling…Federer used to be hot headed when he was amateur / teenager…but somehow he changed that when he turned pro….i been trying cool off my head for last 30 year…any advice?


skeezerweezer Says:

jane……ur Canucks gotta get by my surfin Sharks 1rst :). Watch out for Shark Attacks….


marrisv Says:

What a pointtttt


tfouto Says:

Djoko looks tired… his body language is good…


Kimmi Says:

ike, not my kind of music. but will watch the clip later…

Muzza on fire..what a dropper!


grendel Says:

Murray scrapes thru to break – he missed a couple of easy chances – when Djokovic is in the middle of some kind of fog. One second serve barely made it over the net. Is this just a momentary lapse – or is all that tennis and winning finally catching up with him?


jane Says:

Somewhere, Rafa is resting, icing and smiling.

skeeze, am aware of Shark attacks. Must swim through those waters first. Hope we make it though.


Eric Says:

Well so much for Muzza’s positive attitude.


Kimmi Says:

did he just break the racquet? the leg must hurt


Ike Says:

tfouto, never go by Nole’s body language, that’s typical Nole. Don’t be surprised if he beats Murray in third set


Kimmi Says:

tentative from both then error! what was that rally about..


Kimmi Says:

great change up from muzza..


Eric Says:

Kimmi I don’t think he actually broke it, just wanted to switch it out… I would be more impressed by someone breaking a racquet against their sneakers than beating Nole honestly.. :)

Murray pressuring Nole into making some errors here, maybe we will see a third set after all. Ho hum…


Kimmi Says:

djoko tells himself..be aggressive!


Eric Says:

Well cheerio all, I’m off to play some clay court tennis myself… :D Happy watchings!


Kimmi Says:

muzza looks to take this set..


Kimmi Says:

muzza looks to take this set..


skeezerweezer Says:

jane,

I was going to post that exact sentence about Rafa @ 3:31…ha..mindmeld


Daniel Says:

Murray is trying to spoil the party! The worst thing for Nole is sinimbu in 3. Well, winning is better than losing.


Kimmi Says:

djoko gone off..muzza is on


marrisv Says:

Djokovic crumbling here….


Daniel Says:

Djoko making some bizarre mistakes. Seems a mental lapse!


jane Says:

I love these two guys. :)

Really want the best one today to win. Maybe Murray has more in the tank for a battle with Rafa, thought, both mentally and physically? And if he wins this, it would give him a confidence boost too. I don’t think losing today would affect Nole too badly.

Ah well whatever! Let’s see.

lol, skeeze, re: mindmeld.


tfouto Says:

Fatigue i think…


kriket Says:

Maybe after an easy 1st set, Djoko takes his usual time to get into his game in the 2nd set. Let’s see what happens next.


Kimmi Says:

muzza making a come back…the backhand down the line for muzza works great.

Who will take this third set now..


Kimmi Says:

the murray camp is very happy..


Daniel Says:

S…t! As much as it would be great for Murray to win, I don’t think he stand a chance against Nadal tomorrow.
Murray outlasted Djoko this set. Djoko doesn’t seems tired but some of His shots were not deep enough.


Ike Says:

no worries….Nole will win this third set


Ike Says:

Daniel ..agree


dari Says:

A win here would be great for Murray and I think novak will go on playing great tennis even if he loses today.
Best to both.
Hang tough, muzz!


Lulu Iberica Says:

Murray played excellent, great set point! Nole has definitely gone off somewhat, still, kudos to Murray! He’s rehabbing his image from that AO final!


grendel Says:

nicely closed out by Murray. But Djokovic hasn’t been around for a bit, it has to be said. I presume he’ll regroup, but does he really want to win? Yes, of course, it’s in his bones. But in the long term, I suspect Murray’ll do him a favour by winning. I can’t see this Djokovic beating Nadal. He needs to be released of this heavy burden of the streak, and a good long rest. Then he can go into the French with every hope of winning the whole thing. Of course he can’t tank – but I hope Murray wins now.


jane Says:

Daniel, what about that set Murray won at Monte Carlo, where Rafa was playing well? Maybe he stands a chance? I think so. Maybe more so than Nole. Maybe that his shots lack depth is a sign of his tiredness. He has to feel it, doesn’t he? If not physically, for sure mentally.

Anyhow, let’s see what happens in the third. I honeslty cannot predict it. Tough to call.

BTW, people: it is Murray’s 24th birthday tomorrow, so maybe that would give him added incentive.;)

Nole’s 24th birthday is exactly one week later, on the 22nd.


Daniel Says:

My TV showed an interesting stat: Murray’s first serve returned by Djoko in first set 83%; in set 2 48%. So Murray served better and Djoko returned worst first serve in set 2.


marrisv Says:

Murray has definitely been more aggressive since the second set. His first serve is clicking too


Kimmi Says:

definetly, muzza looks the fresh of the two…


jane Says:

For Andy, as margot always opines, it is very much about that firsf serve percentage. It makes all the difference in the ease with which he plays.


Kimmi Says:

that drive volley worked for djoko this time


tfouto Says:

the streak might end today… Djoko is tired… you could see his face…


Daniel Says:

Grendel,

From His Last wins against Rafa, Djoko didn’t look formidable in semis or in first sets, apart From Madrid. He somehow raised the level in the final. I expect the same thing if he wins today. Everybody will expect him to be tired, but having win the Last 4 sets played against Rafa, Djoko will be drowling once again.


Daniel Says:

Jane,

You are so right: Murray always plays great when His serving great.


Kimmi Says:

nole nole nole crowd chanting


Kimmi Says:

break…now can he hold..this has been a tough match for both.


Kimmi Says:

what diffense from muzza


Lulu Iberica Says:

God-like Nole coming back?


tfouto Says:

Murray is a great returner…


Kimmi Says:

going for broke…murray on fire


marrisv Says:

What returns from Andy wow….


Daniel Says:

Djoko couldn’t find a first serve after the break. Murray with 2 flawless return winners, wish I see more of those from both of them.


Kimmi Says:

we have a slug fest…rafa is laughing


jane Says:

This feels like a final!


jane Says:

Kimmi, Rafa = ROFLMAO.


Kimmi Says:

Go murray is loud with his emotion.

ha-ha jane..sure rafa is having fun


Kimmi Says:

hope muzza plays this well if he wins..he is very good today


tfouto Says:

Nadal will win tomorrow, whoever is in it…


Daniel Says:

Wow,

Murray is sering great. He made 4 excelent first serves when 30-30 and Djoko even managed to return 3 of those.


Kimmi Says:

grendel – you r probably right..nole should lose this. no need to play rafa now


Kimmi Says:

djoko is losing..


Daniel Says:

Djoko’s serve is gone.


Kimmi Says:

break! murray will end this streak…


jane Says:

Well, Nole’s streak couldn’t be ended by a sweeter guy, imho. But yeah, I hope Murray plays this well tomorrow on his Birthday!! Imagine if he wins the intrigue that will be added to the FO!


Daniel Says:

Well, this is it! Losing His streak to the guy He start it all after the AO victory. Seems fair!


skeezerweezer Says:

well that was a tired display from Novak that may make the difference here. 2 simple errors and a double placed him at 0-40, then a last fh error for the break. He’s played a valiant streak however, no matter what


marrisv Says:

Hats of to Murray for the fight after the first set….. Wonderful. Hope he plays like this always.


Kimmi Says:

nole is going down fighting though..


kriket Says:

This doesn’t look too good for Djoko. He might still come back, but he’s running out of time. If he loses, I’ll have to refrain myself of making predictions in the future.
Murray is playing good though, and his serve works too, which together with Djoko’s serve not working is what makes the difference.


skeezerweezer Says:

Just…wow


Lulu Iberica Says:

Djoko physically looks like crap, but he’s mounting a comeback anyway.


kriket Says:

We still shouldn’t write Novak off though…


Daniel Says:

Djoko neutralize 2 exelent serves by Murray with deep returns and nos drama again on 0-40


Kimmi Says:

that FH on the net looks tired


Ike Says:

ok, i m back, Nole is back.


skeezerweezer Says:

Love that timed fist pump from Nole, he still wants to win, no doubt


jane Says:

Sheesh, Nole. You continue to amaze me with your fight level.


kriket Says:

This could just do it for Novak. Murray must be really frustrated now, and knowing his mental fragility, it could be his undoing.


Kimmi Says:

pumped up djokovic too..they are chanting for him..adrenalin will get him to win this


Daniel Says:

He just doesn’t know how to lose anymore, something just trigger índice him and bang!!! Amazing!


Ike Says:

everybody just calm down…Nole is going to win this one!


dari Says:

The fist pump, the look, nole still in it!
Fight Murray!
Was that a bad call?


Kimmi Says:

its hard to hold serve for these guys.

unless nole hold..he will lose now


marrisv Says:

Murray makes two relatively easy misses.


jane Says:

Nole’s first serve is gone. But he keeps fighting. Murray, too, isn’t gone and keep fighting. These two, <3 them!!


tfouto Says:

Nole is streching… is


marrisv Says:

Wow Murray outslugging….Novak


jane Says:

Muzza with a bhand winner, to break and serve it out!


Kimmi Says:

Murray with a better BH for now…

Nole is hurting with something….muzza win it quick


dari Says:

Murray could be doing novak a favor winning this


Kimmi Says:

BIG SERVE..unreal


dari Says:

But then two points like that?!!!


dari Says:

Do it Andy


Kimmi Says:

murray going for those second serves


marrisv Says:

Breakkkkkkk


Kimmi Says:

murray!!!!!!!!!!


jane Says:

Okay that has to be the knock out punch, Nole looks zonked to me. That last shot, just wild long.


Kimmi Says:

djoko, better to lose to murray than rafa…

go murray win it..


skeezerweezer Says:

Meanwhile,

Rafa is enjoying his second margarita on the rocks..


Anna Says:

Wow!!!! Some unreal shot making.


marrisv Says:

This has got be one of the best matches this year….


dari Says:

I think Rafa is a no salt kinda guy, no?


Kimmi Says:

2 point away


Daniel Says:

Murray just waiting for Djoko to miss. This is the passiviness which concerns me. Of coutes He is righ to do it now since Djoko is feeling His leg, for Murray the longer the rally the better.

But that won’t do against Rafa.


jane Says:

Muzza two points from final


Kimmi Says:

dramaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa DF!


tfouto Says:

is Murray chocking?


marrisv Says:

Break point for djoko


jane Says:

Muzza double fault? Nole hits about ten winners to get break back point…yes Muzza can be too passive,


Kimmi Says:

Nole fighting…


jane Says:

Great match, from two faves. Amazing forehand from Nole, just went for it.


Kimmi Says:

big serve to save another


jane Says:

Deuce again! Muzza went for it there.


marrisv Says:

DF again


jane Says:

Dramarama! Murray, another double : /

I desperately need a shower.


Kimmi Says:

DRAMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! Muzza…oh, well. at least he did not have a match point. that would have hurt


tfouto Says:

wtf!?

Murray is choking big time…


Daniel Says:

Nobody hold serve after 3-3?!?!


dari Says:

No Murray, you cannot do that!
Pick your shit up and break back!


Ike Says:

sorry to c Andy making DFs but we will take it, here we go


skeezerweezer Says:

Ahhh the notorious 3 M’s

Murray’s Mysterious Mind


Kimmi Says:

nole cant hold serve…


jane Says:

Now Muzza will be mad at himself and break back again, lol. Could you write in more drama?


Ben Pronin Says:

It’s The Backhand Show!


Kimmi Says:

the commentator says none of these guys will beat rafa….so true!


stu Says:

margot, where are you?!


jane Says:

Lol, that is what I was thinking Ben.


Ike Says:

can Andy handle the pressure now?


jane Says:

margot is off visiting this weekend stu.


Ike Says:

Kimmi
mark my words, winner of this match will win the finals tomorrow!


Ike Says:

jane,
this is the sort pressure ur Canucks (& u) are going to feel!


tfouto Says:

Ike i dont think so…


marrisv Says:

If djokovic wins this, this will be the second match he wins after being two points away from defeat

In Miami when serving 4/5 15-30 in the third. And here against serve.


Kimmi Says:

r we going for tie break


dari Says:

Andy, give yourself a bday present for gosh sakes!


Kimmi Says:

nole legs suddenly are good again..


marrisv Says:

Tie break would be a fitting end, but work to be done by Murray still.


Kimmi Says:

hope nole is good


Ben Pronin Says:

I’m so glad I picked Nadal to win in the bracket challenge.


marrisv Says:

What a volley……..murrayculous!!!!!


Kimmi Says:

`nole mad with that point…


jane Says:

Nole hurt? Bad fall. Crowd chanting Noleee.

Murray’s first serve is wicked but very little margin for error. Barely clears the net.

Looking like third set tiebreak.

Ike very much like game 7 versus Chicago, overtime, penalty to kill, etc.


dari Says:

Novak ok?


Kimmi Says:

ben – where do you play the challenge..we dont see you on tennisxfans group


marrisv Says:

Tiebreak it is….


Kimmi Says:

tie break..anyones game here..


dari Says:

Just do it Murray!


Ike Says:

we going the distance, buckle up people!!!


jane Says:

Okay, third set tiebreak… Still anyone’s match. Exciting win for whichever warrior prevails. Only he is pretty much for sure going to lose tomorrow?!


Daniel Says:

One of them will have only 17 h to recover for tomorrow against Rafa.

Murray usually tends to lose This epic matches.


Kimmi Says:

muzza defense! incredible. djoko pumped


Kimmi Says:

first mini break djoko


Ben Pronin Says:

Let’s not forget, there’s no shame in losing to Nadal on clay. This match could’ve been a cake walk for the winner and he’d still be in a losing position for tomorrow.


jane Says:

Warrrriorrrrs! Incredible play from both.


Kimmi Says:

BH down the line..yeah!


Ben Pronin Says:

Looks like Murray doesn’t really care to play lower ranked players anymore.


Kimmi Says:

noleeee!


jane Says:

Forehand from Nole!


Kimmi Says:

nole cant lose today..no way!


Kimberly Says:

nadal in his hotel laughing his _ss off.


marrisv Says:

This could be another devastating loss for Andy….


kriket Says:

Again, Đoko’s match to win or lose now. Just needs to hold on to his serve and it’s done!


Ben Pronin Says:

Too good. He just doesn’t know how to lose.


Kimmi Says:

WOW!


jane Says:

Nole with dropper lob, Muzza couldn’t quite get to the lob.


jane Says:

How did he win that match. What a freaking fighter. He has created a monster, though, perhaps?


Ben Pronin Says:

Nole doesn’t look like he cares about this win all that much :P


Kimmi Says:

PUMPED UP! ..can he win rafa!!

WOW! congrats to nole. great match it was.


stu Says:

I have nothing to say. The guy is a monster. Muzz would have beaten anyone today, Rafa included.


marrisv Says:

4th masters seris final between Rafa and novak


marrisv Says:

This year.


tfouto Says:

wow!!! Djoko is truly astonishgly…

incredible tie-break…


Daniel Says:

NOLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!

If he wanted to win this bad is because he believes He can beat Nadal again tomorrow. Go rest, have some ice, masseus, bananas, medicines and be ready for tomorrow!!

Amazing to follow Djoko This year, what a heart!


dari Says:

Tell your grand kids about it!
If life were fair, that would have been the final.
It is not, though, and novak has to play against the beast tomorrow!
No shame in what may happen tomorrow.
Muzz- better make that psych appointment first thing in the morning. but good effort!


kriket Says:

Bye bye Murray. You’ve put up a good fight though, everything worked for you, but even that was not enough to beat Djoko having a bad day. That’s what differs champions from the rest. That’s what Federer could do, always come back and never give up. Nowadays, it’s Novak all the way!
Thanks for not making me look lame too, predicting an easy win over Muz :)
Kudos to all, it’s been fun!


Dory Says:

Got several heart attacks during this match but finally Djokovic lived to fight another day!! Phew!!!!


skeezerweezer Says:

I would not be so anxious to predict Nole losing anytime soon, he is on a straight arrow mission to #1. Yeah, Rafa will be the fresher, but Nole seems to have all the mojo going his way. Does he know how to lose?

When you are winning you don’t nearly feel as tired when your losing, plus there is no doubt Nole is in Rafa’s head. When is the last time Rafa beat him? Not this year…..it will be a good match and all really is in Nole’s hands. Yeah, he’s that good right now.


Ben Pronin Says:

As good of a match as this was, Murray still needs to work out a few mental kinks. Djokovic played the tiebreaker as just a few extra tennis points. He stayed within himself and worked the points as needed. Murray, on the other hand, triedeto play fancy and cute. The first point where he dumped the putaway volley into the net is a clear example of that. He basically changed his game plan for no reason.


Lulu Iberica Says:

WOW! What a match! Congrats Novak and fans. This win was even more impressive than his bagel & breadstick matches, because he had to fight so hard for it. Ok, Rafa, you’d better gear up and be ready to dig into your own mental reserves tomorrow.


Kimmi Says:

OK, the commentators have given their prediction it is nadal match to lose


dari Says:

“If he wanted to win this bad is because he believes He can beat nadal again tomorrow.”
That’s the only way I can explain that fight.
Murray helped, but still, tremendous from novak.


marrisv Says:

Congrats to Novak and his fans…… Hope it is a cracker tomorrow.


kriket Says:

>Kimberly Says:

>nadal in his hotel laughing his _ss off.

We have a saying here in Serbia, something like this: “He who laughs last, laughs the sweetest.” :)


Daniel Says:

Rafa lost Last 4 sets, so This time set 1 will be key for Nadal.


jane Says:

I love the way Nole fights now, but I don’t know how much he can possibly have anything left. He is play the heavy weight champion tomorrow. Put your gloves on Nole!

Muzza, well, I love him and I believe in him. He will be a grand slam champion. He took it to Nole today. A few moments when he lapsed into passive play, as Daniel pointed out.

But those double faults, they could be construed as “mental” errors, but the thing is, there is not enough margin (i.e., in clearing the net) in Murray’s first serve. He needs just a bit more. It will still be a weapon even if it clears by another inch or two. And then he should strengthen his second serve too. Murray has everything else he needs and some, and I do want to see him win some epic clashes. He has been in two semifinals on clay this season. He is a factor at the FO. For sure.


tfouto Says:

maybe Djoko should quit now…

I dont think Djoko cant win in a couple of hours… It’s totally tired, fatigue all over the place… but he just dont know how to loose. But tomorrow, i dont think that he manage against Nadal. If he plays tomorrow and tries to keep going, maybe he could get some muscle injury and compromise RG… but… on the other side Djoko just dont remeber how to loose anymore…


Ike Says:

what a match! tennis players are modern day gladiators!!
Well, seems like not many people are giving Nole a chance to win tomorrow, i disagree, he is going to beat Rafa!!!


skeezerweezer Says:

dari

Right “on” on your post @5:22

I know it has been discussed, but what are the ranking implications with tomorrows match?


stu Says:

what surprises me about all this is how much Nole still wants it. making up for lost time maybe?


Duro Says:

Two winners tonight, tennis and Rafa… said the TV announcer.

That was too much…


tfouto Says:

@kriket this is not a Serbian saying… its universal…

Nadal is in a mix now… happy for Nole tireness and afraid of the beast…


Kimmi Says:

ike – i love your predictions. they have been good this year :)


Ike Says:

well played Andy! lot of pride!! just get better and get the GS this year!!!


jane Says:

Ben good point about Murray and the tiebreak, maybe he overthinks things sometimes, when he should just go for pure simple ball striking. But that one return from Nole was a bit of a game changer. Took Murray (and me and commentators) by surprise. That can rattle someone, when you think you have served an ace and it comes back.


Ike Says:

Kimmi …i made lot of money in stock market with my prediction :)


jane Says:

Ike, you should go to Vegas!


Dory Says:

“I would not be so anxious to predict Nole losing anytime soon, he is on a straight arrow mission to #1″

Are you saying there was no chance that Nole could have lost today? Then you’re wrong. He was points away from losing on so many occasions. Great that he came through.


stu Says:

I think this is how the points play out (although I haven’t included Serbia and other small tournaments which might change the numbers a bit)

If Rafa wins, he gets 1000 points (Rome 2010 points were subtracted earlier), but loses 1000 for Madrid 2010 which keeps his total the same – 12470.
Nole’s total would then be 11265. The difference is too high for Nole to make up at RG, unless Rafa loses before the final and Nole wins.

If Nole wins, he would be at 11,665 and Rafa at 12,070. Assuming they both reach the QF at the French, Nole would need to get 1 round further than Rafa to make #1.


Kimberly Says:

ok this is the third time recently both my male and female favorites (or one of my favs) have both been in the final. In fact, in Miami both Rafa and Maria. Every time both have lost!

At least reverse the trend and give me one win, Rafa or Maria. Both would be nice :-)


Ike Says:

jane, i don’t like to gamble :)


tfouto Says:

@Dory he could loose today, but that dont mean he wont get the #1 spot… he’s not defending points right now… just Nadal…


Ike Says:

stu, r u sure? ur Rafa points are right, but i think if Nole wins his tally will be 11485, if he loses it will be 11085


dari Says:

Skeeze- was Daniel in the quotations!
Ike hope you are right tomorrow about novak.
Would be the greatest achievement for him to beat Rafa after that.
I am a bit miffed- tourney organizers putting semis at 2 and 8? Not even 6 or 7 or just directly after ladies. They’re setting themselves up for a less than stellar final.
I know novak can’t have much left, but I still can’t imagine him just getting routed. I just can’t.


Ike Says:

Kimberly, u wish! Nole is going to beat Rafa tomorrow! And then in FO, (if Rafa can make into the finals)!!


tfouto Says:

i dont understand how could it be 6 hours of difference between SF games…

The final should start always 24 hrs after the last game of SF start…


Ike Says:

dari, totally agree with u re. scheduling, who are these stupid organizers, men’s semi should have been in a row!!


Kimberly Says:

Heat, Nadal and Maria tomorrow.

I’m hoping at least 2 for 3 and for my two little boys I need Heat to be of the 2.

I can’t complain about Nadal. He has been in the last 6 finals. His last loss to anyone other than Novak was at AO. Novak is just simply BETTER right now, I am big enough to acknowledge that.

BUT, Rafa is a good enough player that it is possible he can make adjustments and raise his game. Hopefully he can do it tomorrow and more importantly at RG. I still have a lot of hope.


Ike Says:

people, read the eyes of the champion, Nole wants to make a point…he can beat Rafa even when odds are against him!


stu Says:

I think the difference in your total and mine is the Serbia Open, Ike.


Ike Says:

kimberly, ur Heat (and the refs) beat our Celtics…i m rooting for the Bulls!


jane Says:

What a roller-coaster of a match. At times, I thought Nole would win, then I thought for sure Murray would win, then Nole, then Murray, etc… Only at 3-1 in the tiebreak did I think Nole would likely claw his way through. Now, Fritz will likely call me a pessimist again, but judging by the comments I just re-read, a lot of people followed the ups and downs of that match similarly.

Hope Nole can win again tomorrow, and also Sharapova, and also the Canucks! two out of three would still be good, ;)

Happy b.day to Muzza, hellava match and rest up for FO!


stu Says:

oops or maybe not. i dunno. i’m sure someone else will do the math as well :). cant think thru my delirium!


Ike Says:

stu, i m going by ATP
http://www.atpworldtour.com/Rankings/Singles.aspx
it’s calculated as of May 9th, 2011.


Ike Says:

it’s ok Stu, eventually Nole will be no.1 and the best way for that to happen will be by winning FO, literally dethroning the “King of Clay”!


Ike Says:

jane, i never thought Andy could pull this off, even when he was serving for the match, he is (sorry to say this) choker :(


stu Says:

Ike, if you add Finals points (600) to those numbers for Rome 2011, you get

Rafa: 13070 – 1000 for Madrid 2010 = 12070
Nole: 11265

Whoever wins tomorrow gets an additional 400:

Rafa: 12470
Nole: 11665

Please correct me if I’m wrong! Nole gets 205 points for Serbia too but I don’t know when they are added..


Ike Says:

jane, in Nole we trust!


dari Says:

Oh, and I wasn’t around earlier to say.a big Congrats to Maria S! She kept it clean and took out woz!
I’m always afraid of her second serve, but she kept the df’s low and even came through on taking the chance on some second serves.
Will be excited if she keeps that good play going!


jane Says:

Ike, your are so sure. I love it. But you had better be wrong about the Bruins, or you will make a whole country sad. Hockey is our sport, and we want the cup! ;)


Ike Says:

stu, Serbia point have already been added, ATP updates their point on EACH Monday. Thus, if Nole wins he is 11485, he loses then 11085


jane Says:

But I know, but you are the exception. If you read the comments, most of the other posters vacillated too, just like me.


jane Says:

^ to Ike @5:54


Ike Says:

dear jane, ur whole country doesn’t root for Canucks :(
u own the Olympic Gold medal, u have beaten US so many times in Olympic finals, so don’t be sad about Canucks losing the Stanley
just be prepared for that


Ike Says:

alright everybody, i gotta go, c u tomorrow
have a good evening!


stu Says:

For the first time, regardless of who wins tomorrow, I think Novak Djokovic is the favorite to win the French Open. I know he hasn’t beaten Rafa on “slow clay” yet, but he’s beaten the #4-6 ranked players on clay, and #s 1,3,7 and 10 on other surfaces this year. Unless he goes out to an inspired newbie (highly likely), I’m penciling him to win it all.


Kimberly Says:

rafa still has 500 points from barcelona that wont be added til august.


grendel Says:

It is very difficult to read Djokovic. In the second set, he seemed jaded, hardly surprising. But he is mature enough to understand how to pace himself on the mental front. Once it became imperative to do so, he rediscovered his rhythm, and struck where it counted. That’s uncanny, if you think about it. True, Murray choked, but he choked partly thru fear of Djokovic rather than fear of winning. Because he, too, must have been staggered by Djokovic’s evident powers of recuperation.

But then there’s the physical aspect, because Djokovic was labouring under a double whammy. All that laboured breathing,and bending as if seeking an invisible armchair – the messages he was sending must have been extremely encouraging for Murray. But some of it is histrionics, it’s not that Djokovic makes it up – but he likes to dramatise it, he likes a show. He kind of milks it, and possibly even draws sustenance from it – here is the dauntless hero fighting against impossible odds, you can see Djokovic almost responding to his own moving story.Nothing like getting up after a knock down and landing your own ko punch.

I kept looking at his coach, wondering whether he might be less than enthusiastic at the prospect of an exhausted Djokovic pitted against a fresh Nadal. But no, he clearly wanted his man to win. Either he, too, was caught up in the drama – who cares about Nadal sort of thing, this is a great match to win in itself – or he knows something the rest of us do not. Perhaps he believes 16 to 17 hours is enough: his man will be sufficiently recovered to take Nadal on. If so, let’s hope he is right.


jane Says:

Ike true, but I think if the Canucks do make the final round the country will rally around them, or certainly the majority. It has been many years now w/o Stanley and we miss him. :)


Kimberly Says:

Ike, the refs in Boston in game 4 were as biased as can be, and the Heat still won!

The Heat is simply too athletic for a geriatric team like Boston. I fear their window has closed as the Heat will only be stronger and more cohesive next year. Adios to the Celtics dynasty!


Skeezerweezer Says:

@dory

No way. Murray was very close to taking Nole out. He’s on a roll now, thats all. He will lose eventually, but why get off the horse when your winning the race?


dari Says:

Grendel liked your post- both of them actually.


jane Says:

Holy crow grendel? Wtf.

So just to clarify your post @ 6:03. Do you or don’t you think Nole is faking being mentally and/or physically tired? I cannot tell. You think he is playing a game? Or when he feels something he has some unconscious (conscious?) tendency to exacerbate the feeling? I am just trying to understand the implications. I know Nole is dramatic. But lately he has left the “histrionic” behind. He has been much more focused and calm on court. He just truly looked tired, he even lost his footing and took a bad fall too.

From my perspective, Murray didn’t lose for “fear” of anything. I feel like he went for it on those first serves when he had the chance to serve it out because he needed them, or felt he did due to Nole’s return (maybe this is what you meant?) but his first serve doesn’t allow hardly any margin for error, so in that fateful game, having a chance to serve it out, he double faulted twice. You can call it a choke but i think it is a flaw in the first serve moreso. And his second serve is just more attackable. He needs to heighten that first serve just a little more, to allow himself leeway. At least that is my take.


Lulu Iberica Says:

I hope I can sleep tonight! I cannot predict who’s going to win here. Novak of course has been playing better, but if he is actually human, should be tired. Then again, adrenaline will kick in and he’s been SOOOOOO tough. If Djokovic from the second set shows up tomorrow, Rafa has a good chance, but Raf will have to hold in his own nerves. He is usually good at that, but not so much lately, especially against Djoker. Just give us a great match tomorrow, guys! Vammmmoooosssss!

Also, go Maria! Expecting lots of shrieks and winners from you tomorrow!


Kimberly Says:

the good thing for Roddick, is at least by going deep in doubles his is getting some match play practice on clay for the French.


jane Says:

^ I meant the “holy crow” re: the cannibal post, very much enjoyec your take on the match grendel, just clarifying. :)


jane Says:

Kimberly, who won the other men’s dubs? Yeah, posted earlier that this is good clay “practice” / match grooving for Andy R & Mardy.


Kimberly Says:

jane, it is still in play but the americans are leading


dari Says:

Jane- its about to be decided, they played after novak and Andy! By the score so far, Should be all American in Rome dubs. Who woulda fucked that?


Duro Says:

Happy birthday to Andy Murray!

Spoiled, but he’ll be fine. Great effort.

@Bryanbros: Just watched some of the greatest displays of shot-making & guts I have ever seen. Thank u @andy_murray & @DjokerNole. You are both champs.

Great line…


dari Says:

I meant who woulda *guessed* that.
Sad that the other word was the autocorrect suggestion.


contador Says:

after the 2nd set, i thought murray would have an advantage and turn the tables in those baseline rallies guessing nole would weaken, perhaps being more out of breath. and at times looking as jane put it, “zonked.”

wrong. though looking “zonked,” and being slow to come up after falling in the dirt at one point, he denied murray the win when murray was serving for match. and murray helped out by choking a little, maybe. that’s how it appeared to me.

i never know who i end up cheering for but i wanted murray to win. and wished he had a reliable ace on the big points. he can pound one down the T or out wide but the pressure is on vs the superman returner, djokvic. holding serve isn’t a sure thing for either of them at times but losing serve doesn’t mean as much as in other match-ups, since both are such good returners. nole is more confident atm and like everyone says, he’s not going to lose. losing is not an option for nole right now :)

though tomorrow he could lose. i like grendel’s line of thinking that it might be a good thing if he (nole) does lose tomorrow to take some pressure off at RG. but who knows what is best for nole or what’s best for rafa?

maybe losing motivates rafa even more?

all i know is i loved that semi-final today. i hope the final is as competitive and they give us another great final.

have to give rafa the edge, only because nole might be less physically ready.

off topic: the Nice 250 tourny starting and looks like fun. gasquet won it last year but none of the top french are in it this year. however gulbis, dimitrov, and dolgo are there….plus ferrer, almagro, t-berd, roddick. i would have thought ferrer would give it a rest.


grendel Says:

jane, first re Murray. Well, let’s put it this way. Murray doublefaults twice when serving for the match. His next service game, however, which would not have won him the match, he held relatively comfortably. Spin it how you will, that tells a story. Murray was more relaxed when not ahead. That is something he needs to address, I should have thought.

re Djokovic: I think the situation is more subtle than you allow. Certainly Djokovic was not faking anything. He has every right to be both mentally jaded, emotionally exhausted and physically very tired. But my impression of him (which may be completely wrong) is that he is a naturally dramatic person, very conscious of his audience and extremely aware of his “heroics”. And I do think he draws on the appealing picture so presented to give himself a leg up in moments of fatigue. Possibly he gets an extra boost of adrenalin – and he may pay for this later, of course.


grendel Says:

contador, agree with you, it was a great semifinal. I’m not sure about losing tomorrow to take the pressure off Djokovic – I think I meant today. As you say, it’s difficult to know how either player will react to a loss tomorrow. Or a win, for that matter….


jane Says:

grendel, good point about Murray holding comfortably after. Was it on first serves though? Cannot recall. Still think a little more margin on his firsts would cut him some slack in tense moments, but yes it may be mental lapse/ collapse too.

Re:Nole, yes agree re: dramatic in the genes. Just wondering if you think it is conscious, and you have clarified. Thanks.

And too for the cannibal article, am still shocked. Did you ever read Montaigne’s essay “On Cannibalism”? Interesting.


contador Says:

LOL….that telegraph link, Grendel!

what a whopper of a story! if not….ewww

silence of the lambs. he might like some chianti and beans with his meal…


jane Says:

Thanks dari, Kimberly for replies on the men’s dubs.


contador Says:

all i know is if i would have been on the uruguayan rugby team flight that crashed in the andes, i would have died.

i have a hard time eating animals….can’t think deeply about it. i’m queasy right now…lol…

about djokovic: he’s a natural entertainer, is my opinion. when he hit the dirt and was slow coming up, the “ole nole’s” got very loud. have always thought nole plays to the crowd. also cheers his opponents shots, etc… i like it. and i like andy murray telling himself off but i don’t think it helps him win. makes tennis interesting. soderling shoving the umbrella girl in miami was not nice. ferrer aiming a shot toward a crying baby – not nice…


jane Says:

Per ATP “It is the first time in ATP World Tour Masters 1000 history (since 1990) that the same pair of players will contest four finals in the year. Should he prevail, Djokovic would claim his ninth Masters 1000 trophy and become the first player to defeat Nadal in a title match four times in a row.”


Duro Says:

Nobody joined me in congratulating Andy Murray a birthday.

Strange…


jane Says:

Duro, I already did earlier, but yes, Happy 24th for Muzza, he played a fantastic match. Also it looks like he is not looking for a full time coach for the time being:

http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/246777/Andy-Murray-s-happy-Agassi-coach-is-on-board-


Duro Says:

OK then…

The match was something rarely seen… It was better than Madrid 2009 semi between Rafa and Novak (especially judging by the outcome :-)


contador Says:

Duro… hello

(was looking up montaigne’s essay that jane mentioned) grendel and jane have me side-tracked in a macabre way. i’m impressed with montaigne, jane. i like the reason he wrote what he did.

Happy birthday, Andy Murray! (though you lost today)

and congratulations to Novak Djokovic for reaching another atp 1000 final! on clay, no less!

your boy, Duro, has me fantasizing about possibly winning a calendar slam. his tennis and winning streak is absolutely astonishingly great!


dari Says:

I was gonna wait until tomorrow, Duro!
But since you insist
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ANDY MURRAY aka mandy aka muzza!
Great match! And he seems to have a good perspective on the loss. From atp site:
“I’m one of the best closers in tennis and I very rarely, especially against the best players, lose matches when serving,” lamented Murray. “But I played a bad game and I made two double faults. It was good match and I had chances to win. He played very well in the first set and I did not really get into it. I think after that, especially towards the end of the second and third sets, there was some very good tennis.
“I can compete with those guys and I am going to need to play like that and even better if I want to win the French Open,” added the Scot. ”So I am going to work hard over the next 4-5 days to build up to it. This has given me confidence going in now. What happened tonight in terms of finishing the match off, it will not let me down. It is the first time it has happened to me and I’ll make sure it is the last.”


Duro Says:

Completely unnecessary burden. Even playing this match tonight could bring him more bad than good…


contador Says:

huh? was only fantasizing Duro. apologies. it’s just that no one in this era has done it and…i wont mention it again.


jane Says:

Haha contador, yes Montaigne is one of the best (earliest) essayists and once when I taught “Titus Andronicus” I had my students read Montaigne’s “Of Cannibalism” along with it. Fun stuff, or rather macabre stuff, to contemplate.

Dari very much agree re: Muzza with the right attitude talking re: winning the FO.

Duro, a great match, for sure.


Duro Says:

Why waiting Dari? Andy is European, he is in Europe and it’s May the 15th already here.


contador Says:

jane. what a brilliant way of speaking out in that time period! i can’t watch the ending of “braveheart” it’s horrifying to think of torture. grendel’s link: was assuming the swiss respondent wouldn’t be alive, if you know what i mean?

anyway…

“i’m out,” as skeezer used to say…


dari Says:

Because,.Duro, now I’ve used up my “happy birthday Andy” and the day has barely just begun over there and has not yet here and now I have to spend the whole day tomorrow wanting to wish happy birthday and ruing the fact that its already been done! ;)
Seriously, did you expect a real answer?


tfouto Says:

“I made the mistake of playing 40 games in the past four months — that’s what went wrong in the second set,” he said. “I’ve played more matches than any player, so it’s normal that you get exhausted. I will do my best to recover for tomorrow.”

maybe Sean was right… Djoko should have skipped Rome. Or even better skipped Serbian ATP… Next year he will have to choose between Serbian or Rome…


Duro Says:

Countess, Novak is amazing… But I hate his streak as much as his worst enemy here does… (the Roddick fan).


dari Says:

I think nadal has played more, but that’s not the point,.it feels like novak has played more with the pressure a factor.
Anyway, it was a great match today. The only way to top it is if novak pulls it off tomorrow.


tfouto Says:

yes maybe, but Djoko is playing his 3rd consecutive week, while Nadal the 2nd…

For tomorrow i think that the 1st set would be decisive. If Djoko wins the first set maybe he could find the motivation/strength to pull the victory, but if Nadal wins the 1 set then i think Djoko dont have the strenght to win…


grendel Says:

jane, this “conscious” business is difficult. As contador says, Djokovic is a natural entertainer, so he is certainly conscious of his own heroics and its impact on the crowd, and he clearly enjoys this but I don’t for one minute think he is exploiting it as a strategy to undermine his opponent. I think it may have the effect of somehow postponing an exhaustion which normally would have kicked in earlier, but how conscious he is of that, I just don’t know. Some of it is surely instinctive.

Goodnight. Happy eating. There is a scene in a novel by Aldous Huxley in which these two beautiful, elegant, not to say ethereal young ladies, when they appear at the dinner table, decline to eat, on the grounds that the whole business is just too gross. Mysteriously, they do not fade away for lack of sustenance and one of the characters, wondering about this, discovers the solution when he happens to come upon them unawares in some spare room or other. They are stuffing themselves with pies and cakes and whatnot with great eagerness and every appearance of immense enjoyment. I forget what happened to the chap who discovered them. Some sort of bribe, not necessarily of the financial variety, I fancy…..


Duro Says:

It’s not that match the number of matches, but the interval between them… Belgrade, Madrid, Rome, day after day… Give me anyone, anywhere these days and a couple of days of rest and Nole will beat him. He said the masters are harder than GSlams. Completely understanding for me considering these three sets for Nole shouldn’t last more than 2 hours (more often – lesser), especially in the first 4 rounds and giving the day of rest in between, the picture is quite clear, comparing to this everyday torture of a schedule…

Wawa, Soda, Murray, Rafa in less than 3 days!!! And how come it’s not harder than GS? It certainly is!!! Rest and freshness (physical as well as mental) is all that matters.

I wished Novak didn’t play tonight’s match even if he won it…


Nina Says:

@tfouto … where did you find the quote? Is Novak’s presser up already? link pretty please? :)


Nina Says:

On court interview after Murray match and nice vignette on the final. Ajde Nole!

http://www.internazionalibnlditalia.com/Tennis/Media/Videos/2011/05-Rome/Rome-2011-Saturday-Interview-Djokovic.aspx“]http://www.internazionalibnlditalia.com/Tennis/Media/Videos/2011/05-Rome/Rome-2011-Saturday-Interview-Djokovic.aspx


El Flaco Says:

Nadal has played 82 games and been on the court for 6.85 hours. Djokovic has played fewer games at 76, but has been on the court for a slightly longer 6.98 hours. The big difference of course is Nadal had his long match in the 2nd round and Djokovic will be back on court after a physical 3 hour match with less than 24 hours rest. I am glad I picked Nadal in the fantasy draw as well. This would be a big blow to Nadal’s confidence if he can’t beat Djokovic after Murray softened him up a bit.


Duro Says:

Nole is the best – he needs a little rest
He needs a little rest not another test
Not another test for another fest
For another fest: Nole is the best!

GO NOLEEEEEEE!!!!!!

Ha ha ha ha!!! A post from noleisthebest poster on Tennis.com

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