Nadal, Soderling Survive American Assault; Djokovic, Federer Return Wednesday
by Sean Randall | May 24th, 2011, 5:41 pm
  • 252 Comments

For about an hour today at the French Open the collective tennis world was turned upside down as the two 2010 tournament finalists were fighting for their lives against a rare American clay uprising.

At the forefront of this attack was big John Isner who incredibly led the King of Clay, Rafael Nadal, 2-1 sets to one on Philippe Chatrier stadium court. Yes, 2-1 in sets.

Over on Suzanne Lenglen, 19-year-old Ryan Harrison who headed home to the U.S. just a day earlier, looked primed for a fifth set battle after going up a break on two-time finalist Robin Soderling.

But when the red dust settled order was restored. Nadal escaped with a tense 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 6-2, 6-4 win. Soderling broke back and eventually took the fourth from the “lucky loser” Harrison to win 6-1, 6-7, 6-3, 7-5.

So what did we learn? The nerves and pressure are still there no matter how many times you have success.

As for Nadal, who was pushed to his first career five set match at the French, he just isn’t playing the kind of tennis that we’ve seen from him in the past. The 2010 Nadal would never has lost even a set to Isner, nor would the previous “models” been in such a fight and I don’t care how well Isner was serving. Fact is, Nadal is struggling. He is rattled. Those two Novak Djokovic losses I think are partly the cause.

We’ll see if he can turn things around in the next match which luckily for him is against his countryman Pablo Andujar. Then things for the 5-time French winner could get tricky again with Nikolay Dayvdenko looming. But the way he’s playing he’s not going to beat Djokovic. He knows it. Uncle Toni knows it. You can see it in their faces.

Soderling also isn’t the same player he was a year ago or even at the start of the year when he was red hot. But credit Harrison for putting up some good opposition today – the American teen wasn’t even in the draw yesterday until Benjamin Becker withdrew. That said, if the Swede can stay in the tournament – he has a good draw – until Nadal he could do so real damage to the Spaniard.

While Nadal and Soderling struggled, Murray had a good day. It wasn’t his best but he shook off that bad taste from the Djokovic choke job in Rome to beat patsy Eric Prodon in straight sets.

And even better for Murray, with the upset losses by Milos Raonic and the real shocker by perennial French Open underachiever Nicolas Almagro, Murray’s draw, which was favorable a few days ago, has really opened up even more.

For Murray’s head, I wonder if that’s a good thing? On Thursday, he’ll play Italian Simone Bolelli with Arnaud Clement or Michael Berrer in the third round. I don’t think he could have it any better.

Back to the Americans. While Isner and Harrison couldn’t pull out wins, Sam Querrey did. The laid-back Californian who’s had his share of difficulties this year surprisingly picked up his first career win at the French beating Phil Kohlschreiber in four sets. Querrey now gets Ivan Ljubicic in a winnable match. What an opportunity for Sam.

Elsewhere, my semifinal pick Jurgen Melzer quietly won in straight sets and with Almagro’s upset, the Austrian’s draw looks excellent out to the quarterfinals.

Gilles Simon also had a good victory over Michael Russell.

As for second round matchups, the Djokovic Tour resumes on Wednesday. The Serb will try to up his streak to 41 against a Victor Hanescu. Djokovic was efficient in ousting Thiemo De Bakker yesterday and in Hanescu he gets another worthy foe. Big Vic was just a finalist at Nice and he’s had some experience on the circuit so I hope it’s a good test.

Federer is also in action against unknown Maxime Teixeira. Federer also played well in beating Feliciano Lopez in straight sets and he shouldn’t have any difficulty with the French wildcard tomorrow.

JW Tsonga, Stan Wawrinka are also on the court and so too are Juan Martin Del Potro and Richard Gasquet. If DelPo wins he’ll set up that big showdown with Djokovic on Saturday. And Gasquet, who was ultra sharp in his opener, could be Novak’s Monday fourth round opponent. What a path Novak might have.

So overall, some good tennis through three days. The 2010 semifinalist Tomas Berdych was the big stunner thus far – the loss to Robert from up two sets is almost inexcusable for Berdych who now must face the reality and greater pressures of defending Wimbledon finalist points next month.

After seeing the two scares today I’ll guess that there are more to come. And that should be fun.

Matches are again on early on the Tennis Channel with ESPN picking up in the afternoon. Live streaming is available on both networks.

WEDNESDAY FRENCH OPEN SCHEDULE

Philippe Chatrier
Caroline Wozniacki(DEN)[1] v. Aleksandra Wozniak(CAN)
Guillaume Rufin(FRA) v. Gael Monfils(FRA)[9]
Victor Hanescu(ROU) v. Novak Djokovic(SRB)[2]
Vesna Dolonts(RUS) v. Francesca Schiavone(ITA)[5]

Court Suzanne Lenglen 11:00 AM Start
Maxime Teixeira(FRA) v. Roger Federer(SUI)[3]
Nuria Llagostera Vives(ESP) v. Alize Cornet(FRA)
Marion Bartoli(FRA)[11] v. Olga Govortsova(BLR)
Igor Andreev(RUS) v. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga(FRA)[17]


Also Check Out:
Pete Sampras: Murray Just Can’t Hang Back And Hope Roger Misses
Nadal, Djokovic Begin Clay Assault In Monte Carlo Wednesday
Sharapova v American Glatch Wednesday at WTA Birmingham
Soderling v. Roddick, Djokovic v. Nalbandian in Cincinnati Today; Federer, Nadal Also
Federer Romps, Ferrer Outduels Del Potro At ATP Finals; Djokovic Battles Murray Wednesday

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252 Comments for Nadal, Soderling Survive American Assault; Djokovic, Federer Return Wednesday

jamie Says:

Nadal is so over(as is Roger as well, btw.)

I predict this will be a slamless year for Fedal..


Kimmi Says:

jamie – your posts are getting really old. you have already said that, so why repeat 1000 times?

wow! no one gave isner a chance…and what does he do? he takes two sets from nadal..at RG! noway!

congrats to isner for a great performance. was a tough draw but he did himself justice.

maybe davydenko is thinking he might have a chance too..he he.


tfouto Says:

jamie thanks for your insight… everyday you bring us new food for tought.


Kimmi Says:

its early start for fed tomorrow. good. i will catch his match before going to work..


Kimmi Says:

“But the way he’s playing he’s not going to beat Djokovic. He knows it. Uncle Toni knows it. You can see it in their faces.”

ha-ha I guess what nadal camp will hope for is for fed to knock out nole then. will this rafa be able to beat fed do you think?


andrea Says:

you really have to give props to isner. not only is he the fist guy to push nadal to five sets at RG, but it wasn’t a fifth set blow out where he got bageled or breadsticked. he fought and made nadal sweat to the bitter end. it’s too bad he had that one poor game early in the fifth…this match deserved a tie break in the fifth!

agree with sean…2010 nadal would not have lost to isner, so very interesting to see. i mentioned before that nadal, though always being humble about his achievements on clay and respectful of the competition, i think secretly relished the fact that once the clay season came around, he’d be able to mop up points.

he did mention it would be difficult to emulate last years clay success, but now that he’s had a string of tough losses in finals, with 2 on clay, he’s no doubt getting frustrated.

for me, watching nadal look down and out physically in the miami final while novak held it together to get to the finish line, signalled a big change.


Eric Says:

” The 2010 Nadal would never has lost even a set to Isner, nor would the previous “models” been in such a fight and I don’t care how well Isner was serving. Fact is, Nadal is struggling. He is rattled. Those two Novak Djokovic losses I think are partly the cause.”

Wrong – you are confusing cause and effect. No diss to Novak, but the “real” Rafa of last year would not have lost four straight sets on clay to anyone. 2011 Djokovic is remarkable and belief-defying, but Rafa wasn’t his usual self. And, it seems, he still isn’t. But he’ll get there soon enough. The long, two-week, seven round format of a slam really gives him time to get 110% used to the surface and conditions and peak at just the right moment – the semis and final.


grendel Says:

There is a massive irony looming in the wings. Those in the “Nadal-must-not-be-allowed-to-keep-winning-everything-under-the-sun-therefore-under-all-circumstances-he-must-be-stopped”camp (and I confess to being a fully paid up member), whilst resolute and unwavering in their conviction, were a little short in ideas as to how to achieve their goal. And then along came the great knight on a charger, Senhor Don Quixote himself, re-incarnated as Juan DelPotro. Here was our man, a true hero, who would battle for our cause, alone, fearless, pure – desiring no reward save the satisfaction of having triumphed in a worthy cause.

And now look what’s happened. They’ve gone and done a right mess of it. Due to various unforeseen circumstances, Del Potro has been superseded as the likely candidate to bring down the Spanish wizard. But rather than holding him in reserve, as it were, he has actually been pitted against this new Nadal slayer. So now we have the strange situation that the Nadal camp, fearful of this fierce new warrior who has suddenly emerged to do them harm and grief and reduce them all to tears, are pinning their hopes on the very champion who was recruited to unseat their man. Yes, somehow, del Potro has found himself on the wrong side.

In the Nadal-must-not-be allowed etc etc camp, there is dark talk of conspiracies and massive backhanders. A committee has been set up to investigate…….


Sean Says:

Sean, you really need to expand on your theories instead of giving blanket statements. That whole paragraph about your “review” of the Nadal-Isner match could use a whole lot more reasoning as to why exactly you think so. Need to put more effort into your writing, buddy.


skeezerweezer Says:

^ “fully paid up member”……LMAO…grendel you never cease to amaze me…great post….”Classic” and Rack it in the archives of Tennis X. ;)


Kimmi Says:

Lol grendel, you make me laugh again.

this would have been perfect if delpo was meeting nadal in the third round, hey? The way nadal is playing, i think delpo would have had a great chance.

Now.. back to the “investigation committee”..


jane Says:

Sean, Djoko doesn’t need a test from big Vic! He has enough tests coming up in Delpo, Gasquet, and Fed, presuming he and they all get there. A cruise through the match tomorrow would be tres magnifique!


PJ Says:

In all that happened in the men’s matches, Patty Schnyder lost and then retired. I’m definitely going to miss her. She was one of my favorite players to watch with her lefty spin and looping forehand. I started really getting into tennis in 1997, and she really came through big in 1998, so I’ve enjoyed watching her for most of the time I’ve watched tennis.


sar Says:

Fed on Lenglen?


dari Says:

Loved that post grendel!


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Eric- really don’t know, but I suspect its a bit of column A, B, and C: The biggest thing is Novak’s improvement. The second is that Rafa was already slipping a bit, the third is that Rafa is now a bit more nervous after those losses.

Heavy is the head that wears the crown!
Learn the lesson well Novak!


Kimmi Says:

sar – fed has played on lenglen before..and its not a big deal. what he needs is to win his match..

go fed! I am happy he is playing first. i get to see him :)


Huh Says:

0one of those grendel classics posted, one for the tennis-x archive really!


billyboy512 Says:

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


TD (Tam) Says:

Good evening, all.

Would somebody kindly translate this for me? What is tennix implying here? What did the French Open officials say or do to Nadal that was so shoddy?

“Who’s In The Trunk”
“Rafael NADAL”
“Never has a five-consecutive French Open winner been treated so shoddily entering Roland Garros?”

Thanks in advance. Hope everyone’s enjoying the clay tennis show!


Kimberly Says:

ANOTHER MIAMI HEAT WIN!!!!!!!!! 3-1. GO LEBRON AND D-WADE.


dari Says:

So what, I don’t want no foul!!!!! Hahahaha
That was a good game!


dari Says:

I didn’t understand it either TD. Maybe meaning treatment by novak?


Kimberly Says:

Lebron doesn’t need a foul!!!!!

That was a good, game, lost my voice screaming at the tv.


Lynd Says:

I also don’t understand the sniping on Roger. Biggest tennis star (he is after all the 25th top celebrity in the world per Forbes – 3rd athlete only to Woods & James), brings in most sponsorship for TV and print ads, most number of fans – is no longer a factor?

I don’t think golf establishment treats Tiger Woods they same way now that he’s no longer #1. Tennis does not know and appreciate what they’ve got.


Ben Pronin Says:

Lebron and Wade are unstoppable. Why is Rose MVP again?


skeezerweezer Says:

@Lynd,

I agree with you. Unfortunately, Tennis as with most sports is “What have you done for me lately?” And…some… are “tired” of Feds reign, so they try to take him down as soon as he is not dominating. Take heart though when Fed is done the tennis historians, fans, media, will look upon him as the GOAT of tennis in our era, at the very least. Wait and see ;)

That said, every “star” has a life expectancy, and other “stars” are coming around, an me thinks Fed is handling this with the usual grace, while letting it be known he still can compete for the big ticket. Champions don’t usually just fade a way, but with a Champions heart go out kickin and screamin, until the door slams shut. I would expect nothing less from the Maestro.


Eric Says:

TV, well, obviously Novak has improved dramatically. But is he really better with respect to Nadal’s best form, than Federer in 2006 or 2007 was with respect to Nadal’s best form? I don’t think so, and even back then Federer was only able to pick a set or two off of Nadal here and there on clay. Not four in a row. Maybe it’s a mental thing – maybe Nole is in Rafa’s head the way Rafa is/was in Fed’s – maybe it’s just a substantial and real dip in actual, overall performance (Rafa has been in trouble vs. “bunny” opponents a lot this year, like Fed has the past few – but has come through regardless, noteworthily). But I would still have to insist that unless Rafa was just sick in Rome or threw the match or something, more than 50% of Djokovic’s dominance over him (on clay) is because of his own faults, not Djokovic’s strengths. Again, I’m not trying to discount Nole’s amazing achievements, but no one – and I mean no one – takes four sets off of a 100% Rafa on clay in a row.


jane Says:

Caaaaaaaaanuuuuuuuckssssss are going to the Stanley Cup Finalssssss Woooooohooooooooo! After DOUBLE overtime! :))))))))

Tennis Vagabond, I didn’t forget what you said: time to put on your Nucks’ hat. :)


Huh Says:

Eric:
xactly my sentiments!!! I also believ nadal’s losses to nole on clay has more to do with Nadal being shaky than Nole bein super solid. Nadal durin 2005-07 used to play tennis othrs can only dream of playin on clay, hence the 81 match unreal winnin streak he got befor finaly losin to fed in hamburg 07, none could touch him on clay and even Federer was unabl to overcom Nadal in clay at Rome/FO 06, thou Nadal escapd him by a hair’s margin in that rome 5 setter and that was also the year when nadal was almost put to 5 sets in RG (the 4th set score was 7-6 in nadal’s favour), but fact is the mighty federer even at its absolute best was unabl to beat him then, so ridiculos was his clay tennis at that time!! thus keepin this in view, its highly impossibl for me to conclud that nole beat peak nadal in straight sets in consecutiv clay tournaments, to me nadal was significantly below his best in both the finals of madrid n rome, henc the results. this belief of mine is further strengthened by the fact that isner could push nadal to 5 sets in RG, no way in hell could this hs have done if nadal played at his level of 2005-08, 2010 or even 2009!


truefan Says:

Nadal peaked in 2010. As simple as that. Slow as it is, and very slight as it is right now, his decline has begun, just like Federer, whose peak was 2006. Federer declined a bit slowly, still making finals and winning slams till early 2010. Lets see if Rafa is reaching finals or winning slams when he is 28 – I doubt it.


justafan Says:

Hm…Why nobody care about poor display from Nole, after he lost close match in Madrid 2009 from Nadal. But the answer is simple as it can. When you lose so tight match you lose your faith. Nadal lost his faith, which is the real fact.


Dory Says:

I believe exactly the opposite. Of course 2011 Nadal on clay isn’t his best but Djoko’s improvement is why Nadal cannot play his best in 2011. Djoko’s a level above Nadal RIGHT NOW. Maybe that itself is eating into Rafa and making him not play his very best.


Kimmi Says:

federer cruising. he even decided to have a bagel for lunch. ha-ha too easy and too good fed!

gooo fed!

my dear darling georges in big trouble.


Kimmi Says:

ah, so beautiful to watch this federer…

poor maxime, he is lost 11 game in a row


Kimmi Says:

13 game in a row..OK..maxime, needs a game now. go maxime


Kimmi Says:

ha-ha maxime gets a game. he raises his hands. crowd cheering. good for him.

Now fed finish him..


Kimmi Says:

great display of federer magic today. great match. good luck in the next round.


Kimmi Says:

tipsy thru to meet fed next. go fed


Kimmi Says:

georges is fighting, she is turning this match around..go julia!


Kimmi Says:

OK, its “goerges” not georges


grendel Says:

Kimmi, I quoted Wilander the other day saying “we don’t mind watching Federer winning easily” – whilst when Nadal wins easily it’s all a bit of a slog and a bore – an utterly relentless crushing (this was, approx, Wilander’s thought; obviously it’s a partial view).

Today, we saw what Wilander meant imo. The tennis from Federer, allied to his movement, was of a special kind of beauty which I cannot believe has ever been seen before and find hard to believe will ever be seen again. His records will, in time, all be broken. But that special beauty – that’s his true claim to Goathood in my view, any other is illusory. The fact that the opposition was slight, and therefore tells us little about how Federer will fare later in the tourney or even in the next match, does not diminish the extraordinary nature of what was on display.

The thing is, we have been spoilt. We take these exhibitions for granted (and yes, it was an exhibition, it was in no sense a competitive match). Silly us. These kind of matches are little gems, real jewels which will live in the memory when many grand slam finals are completely forgotten. You’ll see. In thirty, forty, fifty years time, there are people who will recall this match. How many people remember Sampras’ match against Pioline in the Wimbledon final?


Dory Says:

Effortless and relaxed performance by Federer today. Although 1st wasn’t so high quality as in he can’t play like this against a top opponent. But getting the W is what mattered when it was just a qualifier.


Dory Says:

Sorry I meant 1st set. :)


grendel Says:

There was one curious incident which drew my attention in Fed’s match. Teixeira was at the net with an easy smash, which he directed straight at his opponent. Federer stuck out his racket partly in self-defence, but also I think he was hoping to get a fortuitous touch – if he managed to catch the ball in the sweet spot, the rebound could have gone anywhere, even for a winner. However, the ball hit his bum.

This is where a very slow motion camera would have been useful. There followed a nice little piece of drama, but all taking place so quickly, easy to miss. After the strike, Teixeira at once raised his racket in apology (I don’t think you would ever have caught Lendl doing that; more like a sly little smile of triumph mingled with regret that the ball hadn’t landed more – shall we say – strategically). Teixeira kept his racket raised for some time, since Federer was studiously ignoring him.

In point of fact, Federer was going through a mini-crisis of his own, which could be summed up in the rubric: to rub or not to rub. Because to give the Swiss buttocks the vigorous rub they no doubt yearned for would have been physically gratifying, but spiritually questionable. A man in Federer’s position, conscious of the eternal attention of the world’s cameras, will wish to make light of attacks on his posterior. In the end, however, complete detachment proved hard to maintain. His hand was drawn, irresistibly as it were, to the injured spot and he allowed himself a brief pat. Partial satisfaction was thereby gained and honour only marginally compromised.


Huh Says:

completely agree with grendel, the beauty,
the smoothness and the effortless lookin display of Fed’s UNMATCHABLE gift, thats why he’s MOST UNFORGETTABLE n thats why he truly’s the GREATEST of his generation, and among the realy GREATEST sportsman of all time! Like Nina once poetically put, only he’s capabl of puttin in before us from time to time, what she described as “spells of jesus-fed”!
ALLEZ FEDERER!!! :D


Huh Says:

Hahaha grendel, what an amazin post about the Fed butt rub, hehehe! ;)
U r producin one after another great posts here about various things, lol! :P


Aravind Says:

Delpo looking in ominous form


grendel Says:

Huh, already I’ve seen description of Fed as “cruising” through his match. Of course, in a way that’s true, and you just can’t say from this match how he will play against a strong opponent. But even if he were beaten in the next round by Tipsy (unlikely), I wouldn’t withdraw a word of what I said. It’s very hard to compare tennis with other sports, especially team ones. But every now and again you see someone quite unique – Messi is like that in football, and I’m sure there are other examples from other sports.

Just as a point of interest – I wonder whether Federer is conscious that Rafa might – MIGHT – be weakening slightly, and hence he might be in with a shot to win the whole thing. Never would have thought that remotely possible only a month ago, and still think it is highly unlikely. But things are stirring in the world of tennis.


Kimmi Says:

delpo, no problem with the “best returner” kavcic :)


Dory Says:

They are showing a most boring Monfils match on TV instead of JMDP. Have to watch JMDP on streaming.


Kimmi Says:

me too dory. delpo is much better match


Huh Says:

Grendel: imo Fed always, I believ, has chances against most players(includin rafa), most of the times. However, the reality, as you’ve rightly pointed out is that in a cut-throat world, the weaker your rivals becom, the better for you! This reality of his main rival weakening favoured Nadal in 08 n I hope now Fed would also benefit from the fact that his main rival Rafa’s not playin his best tennis at moment, good for Fed.


Kimmi Says:

delpo making few errors now..c’mon


grendel Says:

Jason Goodall has just made an interesting comment. He said while talking to Murray at the WTF in 2009, Murray said that of all the players, delPotro worried him the most. His point being that he could be in charge of a rally, but delPotro could just hit a winner from an impossible place to take the point – others had the skill, but noone else had the skill matched to the great strength. Got to buzz off now, annoying, I’d like to see rest of delpo’s match. Goodness, his battle with Djokovic is likely to prove something else! Monfils looking good, b.t.w.


Dory Says:

Shoot. Kavcic broke back in 2nd set.


Kimmi Says:

it was a poor game by delpo..3 straights errors to be broken. needs to concentrate now…c’mon


Kimmi Says:

breaks straight back..go delpo


Dory Says:

And DelPo breaks again.


Dory Says:

How much I wished DelPo to land in Nadal’s section. Djoko is too hot for anyone right now so tomorrow I expect Djoko to win in straight sets.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

DelPotro looks good but not great. However, I think he’ll show a massive improvement by the next match. He is hitting some brilliant kill shots here and there, there’s a kernel of greatness there. There’s something very special about the speed with which DelPotro improves. He’s like the Borg.


Dory Says:

Since his return after injury, DelPo doesn’t go to the net as frequently. His net game is superb. He should play more serve and volley (maybe Wimbledon).


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Whoa nelly! DelPotro is not waiting for Djoker to step it up, he’s hitting massive shots now. If he can keep this up, he’ll be looking to present a true obstacle to Nole.


Dory Says:

Wow 2 breaks. Now match is in his pocket.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

There is absolutely no one in tennis who clubs the ball like DelPo. Berdych’s match-of-his-life against Fed at Wimbledon, or Soderling’s match-of-his-life against Rafa at RG were as aggressive and powerful as DelPotro is all the time. Awesome to watch. The sky is the limit for this guy, I really believe that.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

DelPo being a crybaby about getting tagged at the net. Kavcic or whatever his name is is doing great to keep these DelPo cannons in play.


jane Says:

Nole beat Kavcic in Serbia this year, so I have watched this guy recently, and he’s not bad (score was 6-3, 6-2 and Nole waa not playing great). But i just hope that if Delpo upsets Nole ( assuming Nole gets through today) that he goes deep, all the way to the semis at least.

Tipsy won’t beat Fed, but he may test him a little more, as Janko has been cruising – handed out a bagel in both of his matches. Probably be able to muster a tight set versus Fed, maybe two, similar to F-Lo.

I see Gasquet lost a set, and La Monf. Ferrer still making his way.


Kimmi Says:

what happened in that delpo net incident dory? my stream does not have commentator..


jane Says:

Kimmi, Rebecca won again! :)


Kimmi Says:

now delpo is broken early in the third..what happened in that game? aaargh!

needs to concentrate here!


Kimmi Says:

YAY! jane..i think she play wozniacki next? great to see


Kimmi Says:

bellucci giving a bagel to seppi..I think the kick serve of bellucci must be working well with these new balls


jane Says:

Yes, I am hoping for big things for Rebecca on faster courts. She has power and a good serve. And I see Wozniak also pushed Wozniacki hard today.

Bellucci is about to bake a bagel. I think if Gasquet gets through his match, Bellucci has a good shot of beating him. They have never played before.


Kimmi Says:

no, marino plays kutzy next.


Rick Says:

I think Nadal played too much tennis, I don’t know why he bothered to play in Barcelona. Like last year, he didn’t play in there. And he is being stupid like he did in 2009. He played too much before the French! And that also explained why he was beaten by Djokovic so easily on clay!


Dory Says:

Sorry Kimmy I just went to eat a samosa after JMDP won the 2nd set and was just back to see JMDP breaking back.


Kimmi Says:

samosa..ha-ha. i bet it was good


jane Says:

Oh, the buck probably stops with Kuz ,then, for Rebecca. But that is okay. I don’t think clay is her thing.


Kimmi Says:

the FH..delpo has a big one


Kimmi Says:

belpo was 0-3 in the third and now he is won 4 straight games…i think thats it for kavcic


Kimmi Says:

“the-guy-who-has-not-lost-a-match” is on court. why does he wear black during the day?


jane Says:

I think so too Kimmi. So, after watching Delpo, you think he has a chance to go all the way? His forehand is a monster.


Dory Says:

Djoko looks crisp! And Hanescu already looks resigned.


Kimmi Says:

djoko is been lucky with net cords during his streak. more luck today..


jane Says:

Nole doesn’t usually wear black in the day,although he did in Dubai and Madrid.


Dory Says:

Djoko needs to really improve his net game. Not 100% perfect for an almost world no.1.


Kimmi Says:

jane-i don’t think delpo is good enough to beat djoko right now. we will have to watch, but i really don’t think so..


jane Says:

Dory, agree on net game. Though he does not too badly up there sometimes. He did well versus de Bakker for example.


jane Says:

Making a few errors early on today – doesn’t look as sharp as last round.


Dory Says:

He plays really good high volleys. If the ball is low, not so good. And he usually plays just that one drop shot to his left. There’s no variety in his drop shots.


jane Says:

Dory, true, but his variety from the baseline, and his ability to switch directions, makes up – to a degree – for his lesser net game. I didn’t notice that about the drop shot pattern but will watch for it.


Dory Says:

Wow Djoko-best at 15-40 point.


jane Says:

Delpo is through; Bellucci is cruising!


Dory Says:

Sorry 40-15 to 40-30.


Kimmi Says:

the drop shot pattern the commentator was saying the other day too..

delpo wins..are we in for the showdown!

hanescu with the fist pump..doing well so far.


Dory Says:

I’m picking Granollers to win over Gasquet.


Kimmi Says:

the only match i enjoy watching djoko is with rafa. i have few djoko rafa recorded that i watch once in a while.

now i will look for another match in my stream..maybe some WTA.


Kimmi Says:

both djoko and hanescu wearing the same designer.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Today’s DelPo was good enough to give Djokovic a solid workout. But Friday’s DelPo will be good enough to end the streak.

We’re in for a great match, I’ll tell you that much.


jane Says:

Hanescu is playing well, though he can’t seem to do much on the return. But he defends his own serves well.


stu Says:

Normally, I might have been willing to sacrifice a Nole win to give DelPo a well-deserved push at a Slam, but I can’t root for him on Friday I just. can’t.

Assuming Nole gets thru Hanescu, of course. Not watching the match but not liking what I see on the scoreboard.


Huh Says:

I bet, though its highly unlikely, that if JMDP’s able to keel focus and stays in the zone vs Nole, then it’d be a real tough match. JMDP’s like Nadal in the sense that he can beat anyone when at best. JMDP, if he’s able to inspire himself and plays like he did vs Fed in 09 FO,
then he has a realistic chance against Nole, however his form’d be measurd truly only if n when he meets Novak here. But regardless, if he somehow, n I realy mean SOMEHOW (most unlikely thou) beats Nole, then he’d gain HUGE confidenc which’d be enough for him to reach final! On the contrary, if Nole’s able to take advantag of relativ lack of match practice/experienc of JMDP n beats him in straight sets, then I expect Nole too’d gain enormous confidenc for bein able to straight set a player of JMDP’s calibre, n this may make Nole further dangerous! I’d be very very happy if Nole wins FO, but I’d be even happier if JMDP wins it!


Dory Says:

I am all in for a great match on Friday but since his comeback, JMDP has done well only against Soderling amongst the very top players (not that he has met that many top players but still).


Kimberly Says:

jane, hanescu is my number one lughead ever, i picked him to pull an upset in my club pool last year at wimby and was set to get 36 points, he blew match points and a 2 set lead, lost and spit on the ground etc. I was the only won who picked rafa to win but still lost the pool by one point. And I blame it all on him and his horrible choke and low class behavior.


jane Says:

If Delpo ends Nole’s streak, and Rafa doesn’t win the FO, for example, say he loses in the final or something, who will be number one? I don’t follow points closely but my question is basically this: how deep does Nole have to go, or how early does Rafa have to lose, for number 1 to change hands?


Kimberly Says:

rafa has to win the tournament or nole is number one. If rafa does win, nole can still be number one by making the final.


Dory Says:

Djoko has to reach the final and Rafa to lose before the final I think for the rankings to switch? Although I don’t follow them to pinpoint accuracy either. Djoko was semifinalist here last yr so he can only gain points after the semis.


Dory Says:

Sorry my bad. Djoko was quarterfinalist here of course how can I forget that loss to Melzer?


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Jane, there’s 400 points between them. Rafa has 2000 to defend, Nole must have less than a thousand (quarters? round of 16?). So even if Nole loses 3rd round, he’d only drop a couple hundred points. Rafa loses 800 as a finalist, I think, so most likely Nole would still take #1.
Basically, I think if Nole wins today, Rafa probably needs the trophy to stay #1.
Is this right?


Kimmi Says:

rafa and nole are just over 400 points difference. i think if rafa does not win djoko will be number 1 regardless, he is only defending 360 points i think.

djoko should break here


Kimmi Says:

hanescu saved them


jane Says:

Like I said before, if Delpo beats Nole, I want to see him go all the way too. He’d have to get past a number of quality guys in a row to make the final, but I would wish that for him if he is the guy to stop Djoko’s streak.

Actually, if Nole wins today, he will have tied Fed’s longest ever winning streak at 41 wins.

stu, I get the impression that Nole is not going for too much today, i.e., over-exerting himself, though I could be mistaken. However, having said that, Hanescu has been holding serve well. Nole will need to up his level 3 or 4 gears to take on the power of Delpo. He is not looking near his best today. Even lifting his arms up, etc.


jane Says:

Thanks to everyone for answering the points question. :) Yeah, Nole had that meltdown versus Melzer in the quarters last year, here, so he is defending QF points. Odds are Rafa will defend the trophy and maybe (less certain?) Wimbledon too, which means hard courts could make the difference in the top rankings.

How tall is Hanescu? He looks huge for some reason.


stu Says:

not over-exerting himself today would be a good idea, jane. he needs all the rest he can get for the people left in his draw.

Even if Rafa wins both Slams, if Nole performs better than he did last year at RG (likely, I hope), Wimby (maybe not?) and Queens (definitely!), he still has a great shot at being #1 at the start of the HC season. But yes, the HC season will determine the Y.E #1.


Dory Says:

By reaching the final Djoko will gain 420 points so even if Nadal wins Roland Garros, Djoko should be no.1 before Wimbledon! IF he reaches the final that is.


jane Says:

Hanescu is 6’6″ – no wonder he looks tall.


Dory Says:

And then Wimbledon is likely to seed players differently from the rankings (they have done that in the past). My Djoko seeded No.1 at Wimbledon! Sounds so nice.


Dory Says:

I mean if Djoko becomes No.1 before RG, Wimbledon may still rank him 2nd.


Dory Says:

Sorry I meant I mean if Djoko becomes No.1 before RG, Wimbledon may still *seed* him 2nd.


Kimmi Says:

fognini must be happy to get robert instead og berdych


Kimmi Says:

djoko cruising now..


Kimmi Says:

bellucci wins.


Kimberly Says:

last year rafa was number one and got seeded second. THe number of points on grass from last year, and then half of the points from the year before added to their points total. Nole COULD be seeded one but most likely rafa will as he will get 2000 points added on his ranking to Nole’s approx. 1000.

What will be interseting is what the Wimbledon committeee does with the Williams. They don’t follow the same guidelines as the men, they can just do whatever they want. I can’t even imagine or guess what they will do with the five time and three time champions.


jane Says:

Maybe they’d even put him third Dory? Could they? Given that Fed and Rafa have both won Wimbledon more than once? Certainly if he is still number 2, you could maybe see them bumping up Fed, or no? I know Wimbledon does its own thing w.r.t. seeding.


Kimberly Says:

Hanescu is the worst player ever, i root for every single atp player over him.


jane Says:

True Kimberly – but are the Williams sisters even playing tennis anymore? That is to say, have they confirmed they will even play Wimbledon? It has been so long since I’ve seen either on a tennis court, though I have a vague recollection of Venus’ “experimental” dress at the AO. :)


Kimberly Says:

jane, i don’t see how it would be possible to put him third as they do have guidelines as stated above. I guess if Fed wins RG his points would be close enough maybe but my under standing is the men’s seeding is done by:

Take players ranking points
add 100% of grass court points in last 12 months
add 50% of grass court points in last 24 months

On the ladies they can do whatever which will be intersting to see where they put serena and venus.


Ben Pronin Says:

Jane, I feel the same way. It looks like Djokovic is just going through the motions, not really pressing. Makes a few errors, then hits a few big serves, and just cruises.From 4-4 in the first set he’s won 7 straight games and I don’t think he’s really stepped up, Hanescu just can’t keep up.

Speaking of Hanescu, I really like the way this guys plays. I don’t know how to explain it, but he’s fun to watch. He’s just not fast enough to do a lot of damage, but he usually puts on a good show.


Dory Says:

AFAIK, the rankings are there to help tournaments help in the seedings so generally the seedings match the rankings. Now Roger being 6 time champion they probably seeded him 1 last year but they’re not likely to seed a player two places away from his ranking. That would just be insulting the rankings.


Dory Says:

Besides, I’m worried about different seedings from rankings screwing up the Wimby draw. :P


Dory Says:

I want JMDP to qualify for the WTF somehow.


Dory Says:

Gasquet through. Why did I pick Granollers? Maybe I am yet accept the new Gasquet who doesn’t have trouble closing out matches. :)


Kimberly Says:

Dory Says:
I want JMDP to qualify for the WTF somehow.

If he stays healthy I think he has an excellent shot. If you look at the atp race i think he is in position or close.


Dory Says:

WTF Hanescu retiring just like that?


stu Says:

Yep, ATM JMDP is 8th on the ATP Race. And it can only get better from here, right?


Kimmi Says:

hanescu retiring? we had a false fire alarm at my condo and everybody had to get out of the building :(
delpo vs djoko showdown coming up..


jane Says:

I missed the end of Nole’s match as had to walk my son to school: what happened? No updates on RG site.


Ben Pronin Says:

Wow that’s a lot of people asking for autographs. Man being a tennis player must suck.


Kimmi Says:

OMG, robert can’t win games against fognini. how did he beat berdych????


Dory Says:

Okay he’s 8th right now because Almagro lost yesterday.


Dory Says:

Hanescu called for a trainer before set 3 began for some thigh related issue. Then he played a few games and suddenly retired.


jane Says:

It seems only right that JMDP is in the WTF as he is definitely a top ten caliber. He will just have to stay healthy and keep working his way up. Should be relatively easy since he has zero points to defend all year.

Out of Monfils, Tsonga, and Gasquet, who will go deepest? Any guessers?


jane Says:

Kimmi, I saw that. Fognini is slaying the Berdych slayer.


jane Says:

Thanks Dory. Oh well that’s okay. Nole needs to rest up for the monster forehands and serves Delpo will be dishing out.


Dory Says:

Tsonga could lose to Wawrinka in the Third round. If Gasquet gets by Belluci, he would lose to Nole or JMDP in 4th round. And Monfils would lose to Dahveed in 4th round.


jane Says:

Kimberly, thanks for clarifying the Wimbledon seeding rules. So with the women, there are no rules?! Wild! I don’t know how much they can wrangle them though. I mean Serena and Venus deserve a decent bump for past results, but on the other hand, current form and results should count for more, imo. Otherwise, past champs could always just show up and get ranked way up there.


jane Says:

Is it just his shirt or is Tsonga looking way thinner?


Dory Says:

Kimberly, are these rules or just guidelines for seeding at Wimbledon? :)


Dory Says:

It’s just his shirt LOL.

Wow that French commentator guy with the funny English accent is back this year for the first time? I love his analysis.


Kimmi Says:

are you from canada dory..sounds like we are watching the same feed


Ben Pronin Says:

I think I see why Del Potro is winless against Djokovic. Just like with just about everyone else, Djokovic’s backhand is too tough. Del Potro loves to smack the crap out of that inside out forehand but it’s a lot tougher to break down Djokovic’s backhand that it is just about any other player.

I think if Del Potro is to win tomorrow, he HAS to win the first set. For Djokovic, it’s less important because he’s be able to come back if he has to, but he also gets better as the match goes on, usually.


Dory Says:

I am from India (Star Sports). I think it’s the ESPN feed. Do ESPN have a single feed or multiple ones?


Kimmi Says:

ah, india. ok. i don’t think this is ESPN feed. its probably Australian feed coz its got few Australians in it…and that french guy ofcourse.


stu Says:

I almost forgot!

Congratulations, Novak Djokovic for the longest winning streak in the Fedal era!


jane Says:

Sometimes TSN gets the same feed as ESPN, since they are affiliates.


Dory Says:

Well he’s matched Roger’s streak. Not overtaken it yet right?


jane Says:

stu, hasn’t Nole just tied Fed’s 41 match winning streak today?


jane Says:

Delpo wants to stop Nole’s streak for sure: “It should be a beautiful match with Novak. It’ll be a special occasion against a great player. He’s the favourite, but I will try and fight for the victory,” said the Argentine.


Kimmi Says:

delpo is too nice. i love him. good luck in the next match delpo.


stu Says:

jane, yes, but Feds is the longest streak of the Fedal era :)


Huh Says:

YES, C’MON JMDP!!!


dari Says:

Party time with these boys Friday.
No expectations, just want a good match.
Let’s just say the world falls apart and fed is in the final with Rafa.
How do fans feel about this? And its effects on Wimbledon?
Lots of things would have to happen first…
http://twitpic.com/2jpykw/full


jane Says:

^ AWWW, dari thanks for posting that; what a couple of lovelies. :)


stu Says:

aah, dari, beautiful pic!


Eric Says:

Delpo is a good player, but there’s a reason he never broke into the top 4, which is that Rafa, Roger, Nole, and Andy are all more than capable of handling his shots and exploiting his weaknesses (lumbering giant of a fellow…). I never really liked Delpo because he basically has one and only one game plan: hit the ball really, really hard until you win the point.


Eric Says:

Wow, Tipsarevic put up a nice scoreline: 6-1 6-3 6-0 against P Riba. That’s two matches he’s ended with a bagel now, and two breadsticks he’s fed to his opponent…. I feel a really tough match for Fed coming on. I predicted Tipsy would be tough, but I didn’t realize he would be in this devastating form. I watched a few of his matches in March or April and he was really pretty scary-good — that man can PLAY when he’s on. Should be an interesting match v. Roger…


Kimmi Says:

schiavoni has a beautiful game. it works well on clay. i wonder who far she can go this year..


stu Says:

On clay:
Rafa vs Delpo: 1-0 (2007)
Nole vs Delpo: 1-0 (2009)
Roger vs Delpo: 2-0 (2009) (the RG semi this year went to 5 sets
Andy vs Delpo: 0-1 (2009) (there was another match from which JMDP retired)
Soda vs Delpo: 0-1 (2011)

I fancy Nole’s chances.


jane Says:

Eric, Fed is aware of Tipsy; he said he is a dangerous player who likes to play top guys on big stages. So I think Fed will be ready for him. But Tipsy does seem to be in pretty good form based on those scores.

Kimmi, I was just thinking how nice it is to see Francesca playing well again!


skeezerweezer Says:

^ Don’t know about that. As much as I love to watch the Maestro use his strokes like a paint brush on the tennis court, his canvas, there is nothing like seeing Delpo hit that FH…no one else has a bazooka like that! :)


Eric Says:

I love Schiavone and watching her play. I don’t think anyone is taking seriously the idea of her defending her title, but she might. She should have gotten to at least the SF at Australia, but squandered her leads against Woz… And her beautiful backhand is so well suited to the clay. She should definitely go far, at least.


stu Says:

if they were both in their best form, skeeze, i wouldn’t disagree. but this is nole at 100+% and delpo at maybe 80 at best – after all his setbacks.

tough draw for him, meeting the hottest player on tour so early. if he does manage to beat him tho, like everyone here, i hope he makes the final.


dari Says:

Sure delpo is ball bashing, but its the most exciting ball bashing I’ve ever seen!


Ben Pronin Says:

Del Potro’s career high rank is 4, so he has broken into the top 4. And as much as Murray can exploit his weaknesses, Del Po leads 1-0 in the GS department.


dari Says:

Schiavone is great. Could win the whole thing, could go out to bm sands next round.
Did you see the bend it like rafa fh from tsonga?!


jane Says:

Monfils’ hair looks great in his interview. Sticking up all over. I love it!

Delpo can play at the net, can’t he? I mean, he’s a decent volleyer. I remember him up there in his slam win over Fed. Also, he has a champion’s mind, which is crucial. But I think he has never won a Masters. It’s almost as though the Grand Slam format suits him better so he can rest between every match for a day. Masters require a lot of stamina in their own way, going day after day against top 32 seeds. Maybe Delpo’s movement and stamina could be better?


Eric Says:

Ben, sure, for like three non-consecutive weeks. The ranking system isn’t perfect.

Also, maybe you meant clay, not GS, because the only time they met in a GS was at the USO in 2008, when Murray won. (They were 1-1 in sets in their first match on clay, when Delpo retired, and he won their second and so far only other clay matchup.)

Murray leads their “series” 5-1.


Dory Says:

Maybe Tipsy got inspired from his fellow Super-Serb.

And I don’t agree with anyone when they say all DelPo can do is hit as hard as he can. The very fact that he’s a No.1 position contender is that he has variety in his game. He’s a complete player. Maybe you haven’t seen his net game because the game itself today is more about baseline hard-hitters. But DelPo can play any shot. And even his forehand is not always about hitting as hard as possible. His swing is very beautiful to watch and he has great precision when he’s 100%. He can take the ball early taking time away from fast opponents like Nadal or blast them off the court for players of the calibre of Federer.


Ben Pronin Says:

I don’t mean h2h in matches, I mean Del Potro has a slam and Murray doesn’t. Why is it imperfect if a guy who won the US Open was ranked above a guy who hadn’t won any slams in those 52 weeks? The fact that Del Potro was still 5 after his US Open win signifies the imperfection of the system, not that he was ranked above Murray at a later time.


Dory Says:

Yes I agree with jane, DelPo’s fitness can be better but he’s “new” to the tour so to say. With experience, he can learn to better understand his body.


Dory Says:

What’s the name of this French commentator btw, anyone know?

Lovely photo, dari.


Huh Says:

Eric: I dont agree with you regardin delpo. JMDP doesn’t keep smackin his FHs mindlessly but with plan and after he’s created an opportunity for winner. He’s better than Murray when on. Moreover he also has great serving n he can do fantastic volleyin, has a very very decent net game. Not just he’s incredibly aggressive, but he can also defend superbly with his backhand and few can turn defense into offense as wel as delpo. Add to this, his mental fortitude,
he’s class above the rest. And so far as bein in top 4 is concernd, its unfortunate that he’s not there, but he’s won USO beatin nadal n fed back to back in consecutive days and he almost beat Fed in FO 09 too. I’d take that as a better yardstick of bein capabl than Murray. JMDP hardly used to beat Nadal or Fed, but once he started beatin them(it all started with his determined n hard earned win vs rafa at 09 miami), he’s not looked back. You may contend that he’s more of a ball basher, but its not wholly true; the guy has many times outrallyed n outvolleyed nadal n fed, he was playin amazing net game in his FO/USO 09 matches vs Fed n miami/USO 09 vs Rafa. Just coz JMDP hasnt beaten Nole/Muzza doesnt mean he lacks much than them. He’ll beat these two too in due time, in important matches, there’s nothing for me to think otherwise! If the guy could turn the tables on “champions” like Fed/Rafa, why he can’t against players like Nole/Muzza! Anything can happen, as early as Friday(assumin JMDP’s fit)!! I say so coz JMDP can serve n attack incredibly well n he has also rock solid defence, never plays passive n always willin to give his best, is
mentaly strong enuf for it. BTW his serve’s far more dangerous than Muzza/Nole. Such being the strengths of JMDP, to me it hasnt matterd he’s in top 5 or 10, coz, on his day, he can top anyone, and I really mean anyone!


skeezerweezer Says:

stu,

I was directing my comments towards Erics about not liking Delpo, but by the time it got posted it went down a few posts.

RE; YOUR post I agree with Delpo 80%, Nole 100%. Wait….if there is something higher than 100% he is playin it :-). Should be a fun match though..


Eric Says:

Ben — oh, I see what you mean. Grand Slams, as much as they are the gold standard of tennis tournaments, are not everything. Murray reached seven finals in 2009 and won six titles. Delpo reached 5 finals and won 3 – half as many, even if one was a slam (two of Andy’s were Masters events). It’s pretty clear who was the better player over 2009 as a season, and it wasn’t JMDP.


Eric Says:

Yeah yeah yeah, I know Del Potro is very dangerous. My point is he’s interesting for about five minutes. If everyone playing tennis were 7 feet tall it would be the most boring sport imaginable – kind of like watching a bunch of Andy Roddicks ace one another, but with their forehands instead. Anyway, I know everyone else on this forum loves Del Potro, I just don’t… I’m not trying to convince anyone to start disliking him, just expressing my own opinion. :)


jane Says:

Delpo turned pro in 2005; he is 22 going to be 23 in September. Murray turned pro in 2005 also. Murray and Nole are basically a year and a half older than Delpo given that both just turned 24. Nole, however, has more pro-tennis miles on him than both Murray and Delpo, as he turned pro in 2003, although it took until 2006 before he really started to do anything.

But I do think Delpo may just be one who is prone to injury, and as such he will have to better manage his schedule. He played a lot of small events this year to move up the rankings, but it ended up in that hip pull and missing out on both clay Masters events. He should skip those next year, as I am assuming he will be back up top by then, and he can manage his play so that he doesn’t, hopefully, keep getting injured.

Soderling’s forehand wind-up is one of my favorites to watch as he stretches both wings out and it is like time stops for a second before he whacks the ball – there is this “slow-mo” quality that I can’t put my finger on, but it’s pretty cool.


dari Says:

It would be suspicious if EVERYBODY here liked delpo, cool to hear it, Eric.
Is he anybody’s #1 fave though?


Dory Says:

Huh, I remember that 09 Miami match against Nadal. Wasn’t he trailing in the 3rd set like crazy and turned it around? And then in 09, he defeated Nadal many times. That’s when I began to call him Nadal slayer. When he’s 100%, his game is just perfect to beat Nadal.

But Djoko’s now a champion too, at least for me. Murray’s the sole soul left behind who talks more about his potential results than achieving them.


stu Says:

skeeze, it was kind of strange to see you calling Nole a maestro =D


Dory Says:

Though I agree Murray results other than Slams are impressive. That way, I don’t believe the ranking system is flawed in any way. It represents your entire season’s performance and last year’s as well at any given point of time.

Eric, we are not telling you to like DelPo. Just saying that his net game is awesome.


jane Says:

^ all that jibber-jabber about when-who-what turned pro was just in response to Dory’s comment that Delpo is relatively “new” to the tour. In actual fact, he’s been pro as long as Murray. So he should get the hang of scheduling soon, by next year if his team is on the ball.


Ben Pronin Says:

Alright but Del Potro was clearly on the rise and who knows how high he could’ve been ranked at the end of 2010 had he not suffered such a severe injury.


Dory Says:

That’s why I put “new” in quotes. :)) Everyone matures at a different time.


jane Says:

Dory “It represents your entire season’s performance and last year’s as well at any given point of time.” Yes, exactly.

Eric, it’s good to have a devil’s advocate and you make good points. It will be interesting to see what happens in Delpo’s career.

I remember when Tsonga got to the AO 2008 final, a lot of people here thought he’d be winning slams left-right-and-center, but he hasn’t, in part due to injuries but I think in part due to the fact that Tsonga doesn’t have NEAR the mental focus and even-keel attitude that Delpo has; it’s JMDP’s mindset that impresses me the most I think. :)


Huh Says:

its ok eric, dont wory, u hav every right to post your thoughts, and to be honest, i agree with most of the things u say. u r a fabulos poster IMO! :D


Dory Says:

For me, pure playing style wise, favorite no.
1=Federer
2=Djokovic
3=Del Potro
4=Murray
As great as Rafa is, I don’t prefer his playing style.


jane Says:

Dory “Everyone matures at a different time.” Indeed.

And if one traces Muzza’s and Nole’s career trajectories, Muzza has always been a little bit behind Nole, which could be explained by less experience on the tour. He won his first Masters about a year after Nole, and got into his first slam final EXACTLY one year after Nole reached his. So that means, Murray should be sailing by this time next year. ;)

Delpo rose up in 2008, too, especially during the summer hard court season (which seems to be when he shines most), and along with Murray and he reached the YEC for the first time, but he didn’t do so well there. Then, in 2009, he broke through. It’s true, like Ben says, we really don’t know how he would’ve done in 2010 if he hadn’t been injured. Maybe he’d've won another slam last year?


Eric Says:

Wow, Marsel Ilhan and Garcia-Lopez are going to a fifth set. I watched an Ilhan match once a year or two again and he really impressed me – he’s an example of how rough it can be for players to break into the favored top 40 or so.

Especially for players from weird countries like Turkey who aren’t privileged with an unending rain of undeserved wild card entries and cushy treatment from tournament host countries.


skeezerweezer Says:

stu,

You and I both know who the Maestro is, although for you I am sure Nole is more than a Maestro. Who is the guy that stands with a wand and directs the musicians? What is he called? That’s how I see Nole right now….hehe

@Eric no prob with your imo’s…keep em comin..


sheila Says:

i am a federer fan 1st & foremost, but insofar as nadal is concerned hes going 2win this hands down. trying beating nadal in a best of 5. the win over isner will only give nadal more confidence & although, sadly i fear federer will not win a major nadal will most likely take french open & wimbledon. what i would like 2c is more players stepping up the way djokovic has to nadal, but imho none of them have the stamina or heart 2believe they can win nadal other than djokovic. davydanko’s best is behind him & who is there that can really test nadal till the finals. no one. djokovic-nadal final & nadal wins in best of 5.


Seth Says:

RE: the “Nadal-must-not-be-allowed-to-keep-winning-everything-under-the-sun-therefore-under-all-circumstances-he-must-be-stopped”camp

Count me firmly in that camp as well. Someone whose technique is so fundamentally bizarre shouldn’t be allowed to amass an unassailable GOAT-contender record. Thank the fates for Djokovic.


dari Says:

Remember novak’s shirt ripping and removing phase? Hehe. I’m just being silly now, to the courts!


skeezerweezer Says:

Dory,

that list looks good to me ;)


Dory Says:

The feed they show in India. It’s so annoying when they start showing Sania Mirza or Somdev Devvarman’s match when there’s a Djoko or Nadal or RF match going on. Senseless patriotism.


Huh Says:

Dory
That 09 miami delpo-nadal match’s one of my all time faves. No matter what people think,
but nadal was imo really playin som of his best tennis n yet jmdp was better than him in simply every aspect in that match! I already knew jmdp is somethin special from 2008 itself when he won 4 consecutiv american hc titles at age 19 n yet lost to murray in uso 08 qf by a whisker! but the way he cried after that match told me the guy’s incredibly hungry for success n truly freakin dangerous! And boy, did he prove me right!!


jane Says:

Blank, you go in the bracket challenge! Still at the top with conty and skeeze.

Skeeze, Orcas eat Sharks. ;)


jane Says:

Oh that’s right huh!!! I remember Delpo’s tears. Very sweet, and yes, very dangerous! For his personality alone, it’s difficult not to like the guy. He beat some good people in those 2 2008 hard court victories too, Roddick, being one, but huh, 2 of the 4 victories were on clay – over Melzer in Austria and Gasquet in Germany, again, very high quality clay opponents. So yeah, his quality was very clear then, even back in 2008!


Daniel Says:

DelPo at least beat Nadal at a Slam. Djoko already lost what: 5 (3 RG, 1 Wimby and 1 US Open). Even Murray already beat Nadal twice in hardcourts slams. That’s Why ao Nice follow top Guys. They All complete/anulate each other feats.

Now is Djoko time to get a Slam win over Nadal. Will see..


skeezerweezer Says:

jane….

Your wrong! Canucks ATE Sharks :(. Congrats….the better team won..good luck!!. One thing I like about Hockey is they have the biggest baddest @ss trophy on the planet(Stanley Cup)…hope your team gets to hold it…:)


Eric Says:

Boo, I totally flunked this bracket. Tied for second-from-last… oops. Congrats to everyone else ;)


jane Says:

“Even Murray already beat Nadal twice in hardcourts slams.” Yes, but Nole has beaten Fed twice in hardcourt slams. ;) lol. Just trying to make myself feel better after you pointed out this Daniel: “Djoko already lost what: 5″

On the other hand, it’s good that Nole has put himself in the position to play Nadal and Fed so many times deep into the slams.

In the last four years, Nole has lost only three times before the quarter finals in the slams. 2007, AO; 2008 Wimbledon; 2009, FO.


jane Says:

Eric, I was rock bottom but am moving up a little today; you can still go up as it’s too early to tell.

skeeze, me hope so too!!!


jane Says:

Oh wait – Nole has beaten Fed thrice in hardcourt slams now.


Eric Says:

Garcia-Lopez advanced to the third round with a blockbuster 13-11 fifth set — wish I had been watching this…


stu Says:

He really enjoys his girlfriend “jokes” :

Novak Djokovic on why he cannot go into details about his gluten-free diet:
“For example, I can tell you who is my girlfriend, but I cannot tell you what I do with my girlfriend. There is a difference, just to make it clear,”


Nina Says:

LOL Nole and his ‘girlfriend’ jokes. I wonder how Jelena takes them.

From Roland Garros twitter:

@rolandgarrosEN Delpo: “I don’t know if I can win (v Djoker) but will be beautiful match for me. I’m great friend of him. We have very good relationship.”


madmax Says:

Yes Jane, three times in a row this year, but Fed is the last man to beat novak, at the WTF last year and I am sure he will do it again.

Fed played a beautiful match tonight. Swiss bliss when he plays like that.

Sheila, I am liking the way fed is playing this tournament, if you look at his movement last year at the same stage (if you have the recording), you will see his movement is much more ‘flexi’ – really, he is moving very well and with a certain ease which he did not possess last year.

I am hoping for good things to come from Mr. Federer.

grendel, cracking post earlier.


grendel Says:

Djokovic not beating Nadal (yet)in slams is far more telling than his beating Federer, for the simple reason Nadal and Djokovic are same generation. h2h’s spanning different tennis generations are always iffy and deceptive. Of course, there is every chance that Djokovic will turn the tables on Nadal. Or not, as the case may be. It’s all in the air.

Huh, “yet [delPo] lost to murray in uso 08 qf by a whisker!” I watched that match. Delpo was essentially gone, he’d had some really tough matches against Belluci (to begin with) the human wall Cannas (what’s happened to him?), the second human wall Simon – and this after winning tourney after tourney as you say. He seemed barely able to stand, and looked like going out tamely before launching an incredible and completely unforeseen counter attack. Murray was visibly shocked and just managed to scrape through. No surprise that he told Jason Goodall (as I reported this morning) that del Potro was the player he feared most.


jane Says:

True about generations grendel. It is worth keeping in mind that three of those slam matches versus Nadal were at Roland Garros, though, and we all know who has beaten Rafa there. Soda. Only. Once. At Wimbledon, Nole retired, which maybe said more about his effort level then than his capabilities. Mind you, he’d played back to backs due to all the rain delays. That leaves the USO loss, when Nadal was playing top notch. Maybe if he had met Nadal twice at the AO, he would have a better record. Maybe not. It might be a match up thing, or it may be belief versus Rafa, or it may’ve been fitness. Not sure. Maybe all three. But i sure hope he can get a slam win over Rafa at some point, that is for sure.


jane Says:

madmax, I meant slam wins. But yeah, I am sure Fed will beat Nole again. Their matches have always been close and exciting, and they always feel like 50/50 propositions to me. Didn’t see Fed as it was at 3:00 am here!


Fritz Says:

Friday will be humid day in Paris with possible morning showers. Bad news for Juan Martin stamina-wise and even worse news shot penetration-wise. I believe he’d prefer hot dry day when ball flies and it’s easier to breathe.


Eric Says:

In his post-match interview today, Federer said that Del Potro could have won the French Open last year if he hadn’t injured his wrist. Interesting!


Kimmi Says:

these post match interviews at RG seem short this year. the video clip looks like it is cut off. i wonder why they don’t post a full transcript like previous years?


Kimmi Says:

You guys who thinks djokovics and muzza are good buddies, you are mistaken. djokovic thinks different..

“Sometimes, I have dinner with Andy or Rafa; but the reality is none of us can be real mates while we are fighting for history,” he told London tabloid the Mail on Sunday. “But one day, when we’ve all retired, I look forward to sitting down over a beer with them all, and their families, and remember what we went through.

“Roger, Rafa, Andy and myself have a very civil relationship, with a great respect for one another.”

http://tennistalk.com/en/news/20110523/Djokovic_says_socializing_with_rivals_not_really_possible


jamie Says:

Ladies and gentlemen, here is your 2011 RG winner: Novak Djokovic

http://img689.imageshack.us/img689/28/rgwinner2011djokovic.jpg


jane Says:

Kimmi, I read the whole article in the Daily Mail. I assume it just means that they cannot “hang out” too much when they have to be rivals on the court as it might interfere with either guy’s goal to win. There have been many stories about their connection, one just a couple days ago about their “friendship” and “rivalry” and then there was this one before Miami. So who knows. They must have some kind of connection growing up together, pracitcing at Hopman pre-AO and so on. But they both want to win. So it must be tough to juggle that, too.

http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/tennis/how-djokovic-and-murray-became-best-mates-again-2248956.html


Nina Says:

Nole and Andy have grown up and gone through the same things almost at the same time. They have known each other for many years since juniors and they became friends later on. But Murray kept his distance when he cracked the Top 5, because he was sensing he was close to the top spot and he had to fight Novak, not love him. Things got steady when they didn’t play against each oyher for a year and Nole was trying to get closer to Andy. They have been practising a lot together this year and always send each other messages. But I think Nole has taken the next step now and he senses that Murray and Nadal will be his biggest rivals, so he may feel the need to distance himself again. Rafa is also reacting differently to Novak now, doesn’t call him Nole anymore in interviews, now it’s plain Djokovic. Subtle differences, but still they tell a story. Maybe it’s just impossible to be friends and rivals at the same time, though they can have appreciation and respect for each other much like Fedal.


Nina Says:

Kimmi… the videos are cut off, there are no full transcripts. I don’t know the reason, but they don’t make fans any favor. It’s irritating.


jane Says:

Agree Nina. i have found some quotes from players in artciles, but they either need to post the full video or supplement it with the full transcript, imo.


grendel Says:

I read that article too, Kimmi. It just seemed common sense to me. You sometimes hear references to Federer’s friend Sampras or Federer’s friend Nadal. This has always struck me as a pretty loose description of friendship. I’d guess Sampras and Fed are friendly acquaintances, Fed and Nadal friendly rivals. In no real sense are they friends. They’re not close, I wouldn’t suppose. They don’t crash on each other’s floors, get drunk together, seek each other out in trouble in joy. Much the same, I’d guess, is true of Murray and Djokovic, though their working relationship obviously has a good deal more history attached to it.

From jane’s link:”"We have more or less similar games,” Djokovic said. “We put some variety in our games depending on who we play, but our games are based on the baseline. We can mix it up. We can play spin, defensive, offensive, and we have quite solid serves.” I’ve read this before, and I can’t make much sense of it. The business about:”our games are based on the baseline”. Well, for god’s sake, everybody’s games are based upon the baseline these days, with exceptions you can literally count on your fingers. “we put some variety…” That is, they can adapt their game according to who they play – and so can most top players and even some not so top players. “We can mix it up…” I should think so too, so can many club players. It LOOKS like Djokovic is saying something concrete, but he isn’t really, the comments are all quite anodyne. Then this idea that Djokovic and Murray have similar games, well I’ve heard that before more than once, but I don’t get it. They don’t seem at all similar to me. They are both very gifted, of course.

That business about the diet which Djokovic seems so coy about. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if Djokovic doesn’t have some sort of pupil/guru relationship with that doctor chappie. Nothing at all sinister, more a kind of therapeutic relationship – and that’s pretty private.


jane Says:

Bodo wrote about the Frenchies, Monfils, Gasquet et Tsonga, and their chances / pop guns or loaded guns:

http://blogs.tennis.com/tennisworld/2011/05/tk-3.html


Eric Says:

grendel, sure, but nearly all commentary by these guys is basically devoid of meaningful content. You have to look at interviews with Andy Roddick for meaningful commentary on the sport and Roger Federer for sincere analysis of actual technique and playing styles. And their comments are often perceived as colorful or inappropriate. When you get asked an endless string of repetitive and inane “questions” after every single match, your answers are going to be pretty bland.

I would guess that what Djokovic is thinking of is that they are both versatile in the sense that they are good (“good” in the context of “top tennis pro,” obviously – not just in the context of “tennis player”) at basically every shot, and that they both use powerful shots from the baseline to try to dictate play, and that they are both really good at switching a defensive shot into a really good attack.

I mean, Djokovic has basically elevated the run-of-the-mill baseline technique that 95 of the top 100 have into a devastatingly effective art form, whereas Murray is rather a bit different. But sure, they’re both still tennis players, so they basically are doing the same things, and Nole’s commentary – though bland – highlights some of them, and I’d agree with him that they are more similar than, say, Djokovic and Ferrer or Djokovic and Nadal.


Eric Says:

Jane, unwontedly interesting commentary from Bo-dumb, but he left out Gilles Simon, who, true, has never really done anything at the French before — but is surely more likely to make it to the quarters (past Soderling) than either Tsonga (past Roger) or Gasquet (past Djokovic). Now Monfils should be able to handle Ferrer, I feel. But he probably won’t. (Sigh.)


jane Says:

I thought of that Eric. I guess Simon is kind of under-the-radar. I watched him yesterday and he got better as the match wore on. I was surprised yet again at how empty the joint was. I mean, this was a top French guy playing in the French Open? I know Bodo isn’t the greatest, just nice to read something on different players.


Eric Says:

Yeah, it was an interesting read. Seems like Tsonga is the only one he had a nice word for, but Monfils and Gasquet certainly do have their flaws. I caught a bit of that match too and it was a bit of a downer – I expected and wanted Simon to win, but it seemed like Russell just couldn’t get a lucky break (so to speak) in the final two sets. He was doing everything right on some points and still losing them, and it forced him to go for more and more until eventually he was just wailing away at the ball and hitting it toward the moon, hoping it would just land on the lines…


grendel Says:

You make a good case, Eric, but I’m going to retain a little scepticism. For instance; “good at every shot.” Certainly – but so is Federer, so is Malisse and I am sure others could be named, and Federer and Malisse have much more in common imo with each other than with Murray or Djokovic. “Powerful shots from the baseline to dictate play” – yes, Djokovic rather more than Murray I’d say – but more than either of them in this respect delPotro certainly and Nalbandian (when he turns up) perhaps controversially. The the “switching a defensive shot into a really good attack” – true and I’ve always thought Nadal was particularly effective at that. And I’ve heard people say Nadal and Djokovic in the end have similar games – which I must say I don’t buy myself. Similar dogged mentalities perhaps, prepared to engage in endless attritional warfare?

However, I am bound to say that my impressions are very much those of an interested armchair viewer. We have our place – there’s a lot of us – but of course we’ll miss a lot.


Eric Says:

grendel, yeah – I agree with all of what you say here. At the end of day, basically everyone now has a broadly similar style of play… it’s just that some people are better at some areas of the game than others and are more able to integrate their strengths and their opponents’ weaknesses.

But even those players with pretty distinctive games – Federer, say – are marked more by more skillfully and less predictably executing the same kind of shots as most anyone else, than by really doing anything qualitatively that different. People with really, truly different styles of play are pretty rare – think of Llodra.

But I guess the players on the tour get used to one another and know how they respond to particular shots and how they serve, or go in for drop shots, or any number of other things that we, watching on crappy online streams, can’t really see or even know to think about. So maybe Djokovic is thinking of something I don’t even really know about or am aware of… I think there is also a certain tendency on the part of everyone commenting on tennis to get trapped inside untrue narratives and cliches – oh, so-and-so is suuuch a confidence player, this one always does that, that one has the best X, etc, etc, etc. There’s some truth to these cliches but a lot of the time they’re just crutches.


grendel Says:

” we, watching on crappy online streams, ” Ah, you poor Americans. We get pretty well served in Britain on the telly front w.r.t.tennis. Goodness me, HD really is good, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, the images are delightfully sharp and distinct. The BBC is supposed to be showing Wimbledon in 3D this summer. I can’t afford that, and will wait until the price comes drastically down – as it will. But I wonder if the 3D stuff is any good.


jane Says:

” But I wonder if the 3D stuff is any good.” Don’t know about for tennis (!) but I have read rave reviews about Herzog’s new 3D film on caves and cave painting. I think I will check it out.


Daniel Says:

Jamie,

LOL!!!!! Federer reflex in the trophy is priceless, Hahahahahahahaha


Dc Says:

Fed is playing good. Hes back in form. He should be able to smack Nole and Nadal.
Probably another FO championship for Fed this year.


Eric Says:

Jane, you should see Cave of Forgotten Dreams ASAP.

It’s not as good as Encounters at the End of the World (if you are a Werner Herzog documentary fan :) ) but it was still stunning. I guess it’s probably just a bit harder to make as excellent of a film about rock painting especially under the circumstances they had for filming…

The 3D element was absolutely necessary and vital for some of the visual impact of the cave scenes, but it was annoying and extraneous for a lot of the movie too (they did all of the interviews in 3D for example – which I guess is nice if you want to marvel at Julien the Archaeologist’s cheekbones, but it also introduces annoying visual artifacts…). 3D movies are still kind of annoying in my opinion, but in this case it might have been worth it. (Of course, when it comes out on DVD, I bet it will be just as impressive in 2D!)


margot Says:

eric: u aren’t alone on this forum by not being a Delpotro fan, there’s two of us at least ;)


madmax Says:

Jane,

I know! I think that Novak is a brilliant player and I love his confidence right now, of course as a federer fan, hoping that fed can get some revenge, but as you say their matches have always been close and very exciting.

Fed’s match was great and he played some beautiful tennis. He is a sight for sore eyes when he plays like that.

I am sure that you are enjoying all of novak’s hard work right now – it’s unbelievable what he is doing. Not only beating the top guys, but THE top guy, rafa. Seems that rafa has novak inside his head right now. It makes for a great competition though. That’s for sure.

Margot, why don’t you like delpo? Just interested? Is it his style of play? he is such a mild mannered man during interviews, I can’t imagine anyone not liking him?


Daniel Says:

Do you Guys know that Murray survived an attack when He was a child? That a ceazy student killed some people in His classroom randomly?

The comentors in my TV were saying This as a possible mental fragility by Murray. Is This true, anybody eles heard of it?!


dari Says:

Daniel- it wasn’t a student it was a man in the community. Like a church guy or youth group guy even. He’s also a child of divorce, which I don’t know how common that is on the tour. Anyway, it could all contribute as any other experiences anybody else has, but his is of course much more traumatic. Honestly, I feel weird talking about it- tragic event.


Dory Says:

Murray’s match going so weird. Both playing up and down. Murray has to up his level if he wants to win RG. Not serving great.


dari Says:

Tough conditions, but Murray needs to improve for sure. Luckily, he is not facing any big dangers in the draw just yet.
Go AM


jane Says:

Thanks Eric, for the reviews; I haven’t seen either. The most recent Herzog I have seen is “Grizzly Man”, which was a while ago. I should rent “Encounters” though; the imagery looks amazing. And I will try to see “Caves” in theatre.

Daniel, it is so very sad, and unfortunately true too. Poor Andy.


margot Says:

Daniel, Andy and Jamie were at Primary School when it happened. Many children were killed. For a time Andy’s mum and dad didn’t know if they were alive or dead.

Top story: Juan Martin Del Potro Is Hitting 2-Handed Backhands Again, Will He Be Ready For The US Open? [Video]
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Rankings
ATP - Jul 21 WTA - Jul 21
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Rafael Nadal2 Na Li
3 Roger Federer3 Simona Halep
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Petra Kvitova
5 Tomas Berdych5 Agnieszka Radwanska
6 David Ferrer6 Maria Sharapova
7 Milos Raonic7 Eugenie Bouchard
8 Juan Martin Del Potro8 Angelique Kerber
9 Grigor Dimitrov9 Jelena Jankovic
10 Andy Murray10 Victoria Azarenka
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