Nadal, Murray Advance; Women’s Semis Thursday at French Open
by Staff | June 1st, 2011, 9:03 pm
  • 121 Comments

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal and No. 4 Andy Murray convincingly moved into the semifinals on Wednesday at Roland Garros, dismantling potentially tricky opponents in straight sets.

Nadal won a French Open final rematch over No. 5 seed Robin Soderling, this time summarily dismissing the Swede 6-4, 6-1, 7-6(3).
“I am through. I’m in the semifinals, so that’s the thing,” Nadal told reporters. “I have to be playing better and better every day if I want to have chances to win the final and that’s what I’m going to try.”
Soderling struggled with his serve, among other things, in the windy conditions.

“It’s always difficult to play when it’s windy, but it’s the same for both players,” Soderling said. “In the beginning it was tough to serve really well. I think first two sets was pretty windy, and then it got a little bit easier, a little bit calmer in the third set.”

Murray had a tougher time against unseeded Juan Ignacio Chela, but still defeated the Argentine in straight sets 7-6(2), 7-5, 6-2.

“It was just very up and down,” said Murray, who will face Nadal on Friday. “The wind obviously doesn’t help, but it was just a really scrappy match. I didn’t start particularly well and then got a little bit better and started moving a bit better towards the end of the first set. Then I got up in the second, lost concentration a little which you can’t afford to do against someone like Juan who has a lot of experience on this surface.”

The two women’s quarterfinal matches on Wednesday were also straight-set affairs, with No. 6 seed Li Na of China upsetting No. 4 Victoria Azarenka 7-5, 6-2, and No. 7 Maria Sharapova drubbing No. 15 Andrea Petkovic 6-0, 6-3.

“Even though the first set was 6-0, we played it for quite a bit of time because of some long games at the beginning,” Sharapova told reporters. “I did really well in the important points in the first set. I think that was the difference in the beginning — then there was a little bit of an up and down in the second set…It’s exciting to be back in the semis here.”

Thursday play sees the women’s semifinals with (6) Na Li vs. (7) Maria Sharapova, and (5) Francesca Schiavone vs. (11) Marion Bartoli.
 

 

 

 


Also Check Out:
Halep, Petkovic Win; Women’s Semis Thursday
Serena Into Semis, Determining Matches Friday at WTA Championships
Serena v Lefty, Crying Game v Slicy in Wimbledon Women’s Semis
Federer Wins Comeback Shocker Over Monfils; Women’s SFs Friday at US Open With Serena, Wozniacki
Stosur, Cibulkova Set Up Thrilling(?) French Open Semis

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121 Comments for Nadal, Murray Advance; Women’s Semis Thursday at French Open

Kimmi Says:

OK, its ladies day tomorrow. go Li Na and Go bartoli. first time slam winner pleeeease!


Kimmi Says:

soderling, you have to learn to play in the wind. you just have to..terrible first two sets.


jane Says:

We SCORED with 20 seconds left in the third period – whoooohoooo!


contador Says:

kimmi,
i read the other thread, getting caught up with tx, and watched federer hitting balls into the sunroof of that car. that was great. thanks.

getting up at 4 am to stream either cycling or tennis from europe is beginning to really fray my nerves. think i will skip wta matches tomorrow. but GO Li! marion winning would be good. ah…i don’t really have a stand out favorite simply prefer the tennis without high octave wailing,


Michael Says:

Nadal must be hoping that Federer will take care of Djokovic. Between Djokovic and Federer, Nadal fears the former most while he is having it easy against the later for years. I do not know the reason, but Federer’ game just breaks down when he faces person named Nadal. While Nadal will be wary of another defeat when he faces Djokovic and that will lead to more pressure. As far as Djokovic, if he beats Federer, becomes No.1, which adds pressure on him. But as a seasoned professional, I expect Djokovic to handle the pressure well. As much as I like Federer and also Nadal, I want Djokovic to win the French Open and begin a new chapter in Tennis.


Colin Says:

Michael, you are taking it for granted that Nadal will beat Murray! Just as it’s true to say, as everyone has been this week, “Never write off Rafa”, I’d say it’s silly to write off Andy. Look at Madrid: after Murray lost the first set 1-6 against Florian Meyer, who expected he’d play as well as he did against Nole?
Typically, Murray is being misreported. On the BBC website the headline is “Murray confident he can beat Nadal”, but if you read what he actually said, it was only that he thinks he CAN win. Not the same thing.


aleish17 Says:

What happened to my bracket? What a disaster! Boo-hoo!


Skorocel Says:

jane: “We SCORED with 20 seconds left in the third period – whoooohoooo!”

Talk about being “happy” here… I was rooting for Boston and their (our) captain “Big Z” :-( Hope the Bruins can return the favor in Game 2!


Skorocel Says:

Colin said: “Look at Madrid: after Murray lost the first set 1-6 against Florian Meyer, who expected he’d play as well as he did against Nole?”

Mayer isn’t Nole, and Nole (still) isn’t Nadal (on clay, that is), be it 2-0 vs the Spaniard in 2011 on the red dirt or not. In other words, if he (Nadal) plays like he did yesterday vs Soderling, I’d still favor him over anyone: Djokovic, Federer & Murray included. I’d be more than happy to eat my words tomorrow, but I’m afraid that, after yesterday’s showing against the Swede, it’d be over for Murray after 3 sets…


Michael Says:

Colin, Every match is different. But if Nadal maintains the level he played against Soderling and then I am sorry to say that things are going to be much difficult not just for Murray, but Djokovic or Federer who is on the other end. May be, Djokovic will have more chances against Nadal than Federer and Murray simply because he has beaten him black and blue the last four times. That will surely play in Nadal’s mind whenever he faces him. That being said, although Murray is a great player with a wide range of shots in his arsenal, yet he does not handle the pressure situation well and I have seen him crumble down in many matches. More often than not his first serve is the casualty. In how many matches have I seen him with a poor first serve percentage. May be if Nadal plays the level he played against Andujar or Ljubicic, Murray will have chance provided he plays well. But if Nadal displays the lethal form of yesterday, take it from me, Murray just has no chance whatsoever especially when it is played on Clay. Hard Court is a different matter where Murray will have some advantage but not on clay.


Michael Says:

Every player need to be confident in winning a match if not what is the real point in playing ? It is good to see that Murray is displaying confidence going forward his match against Nadal. But I expect the match to last four sets utmost with Nadal heading to the final. If Murray wins, I will be terribly surprised and that will depend on Nadal’s level of play. Ofcourse anything can happen in Tennis, but Nadal is totally a different animal on Clay.


Kimberly Says:

Feeling unusually nervous about these two womens matches! Go Maria! Go Francesca! Hope they both bring their A games!


Kimmi Says:

Go Li Na


Kimmi Says:

early break..sharapova ground stroke dont trouble Li at the moment. Hope she keeps it up.


Kimmi Says:

Sharpie finding her range


Kimmi Says:

sharapova is rattled


Kimmi Says:

very windy today too..a lot of windy errors at the moment


Kimmi Says:

sharpie breaks back..game on! c’mon Li


Kimmi Says:

ah, easy for li to break there. 3 df in that game for sharpie.


Kimmi Says:

bad errors from Li now. sharpie 2 break back points


Kimmi Says:

sharpie breaks..we are back on serve. C’mon Li you have to break now.


Kimmi Says:

ah, sharapova missed a sitter. Li takes the first set..


Kimberly Says:

ok maria keep playing you are in this, don’t give it away!


Kimmi Says:

maria breaks in the first game after being 40-0 down.

We know that maria will fight


Kimmi Says:

Li hitting one error after another now


Kimberly Says:

sharpova double faults to go back on serve :-(


dari Says:

Look at Maria coming in!


Kimberly Says:

crap na li is about to win this match. Come on Maria! Well, a semi final is a good showing. If she loses here maybe she can win wimbledon. But still sad, she may never get this good of an opportunity a RG again so she better try and figure it out.


Kimmi Says:

Congrats to Li Na


Polo Says:

Wow! Another screaming girl out. Excellent. I’m happy.


Kimberly Says:

so much for that match. So sad.


dari Says:

Ah! Df on mp?!
That’s great for li na, two finals in a row!
it was a bad ending for Maria, but if she is doing this well at RG she is good to go for Wimbledon and uso :)


dari Says:

Vika nor Maria screaming bothers me, but li na put an end to both!


Polo Says:

Li Na is the Silencer! That is great for women’s tennis. Congratulations!!!


Colin Says:

Well, I wanted Li Na to win, but in all honesty that match was spoiled by the windy conditions (which, if they continue, will hinder Murray tomorrow). It’s no good saying players have to learn to deal with all conditions. If high winds particularly affect someone’s game they can’t be expected to change their style overnight. Sharapova can’t suddenly adopt a lower ball toss.


stu Says:

*yawn*

Is it Friday yet? :P


Lulu Iberica Says:

Kimberly, I’m sorry Maria lost! I was rooting for her, but between the wind and a great opponent a comeback was out of reach today. She showed some great stuff, though, and should do well at Wimbledon.

Congrats to Li Na. She has another shot to make history this year. It’s nice to see a veteran having this late career success.

Now, c’mon Francesca! This should be an exciting match!


Kimberly Says:

i’m too depressed for any meaningful comment.


jane Says:

:’( for Sharapova.

Congrats to Li Na.


Kimberly Says:

thank you lulu


Lulu Iberica Says:

Kimberly, I hope Rafa and the Heat can cheer you up!


Cindy_Brady Says:

Now that the boring woman’s matches are over we can focus on the top 4 male players, who by the way are playing each other.

Nadal over Murray in straight sets

And

Djokovic over Federer in straight sets.

Don’t see Murray or Federer having a snow ball’s chance in Hell of winning.

The French men’s final between Djokovic and Nadal should be an epic all time battle.

Don’t really care who wins just want to see great tennis unlike what the women produce.

Woman’s tennis is just sucky to watch.


funches Says:

Sharapova will not win Wimbledon. Her best days are behind her there. When she won it, she was about three inches shorter than now and lower to the ground. She gets wrong-footed too easily now, and her lack of athletic ability is a killer on grass. I don’t believe she’s ever reached a final at Wimbledon since winning it.

Hard courts will be a different story if she avoids the yips on her serve.


Lulu Iberica Says:

I don’t want either of these two to lose! Both interesting personalities, veterans. Bartoli’s in her home country, but Schiavone’s a true clay courter.

Great net play from Frankie there!


Lulu Iberica Says:

Cindy, a lot of women’s tennis does suck, but I don’t see how a person could not appreciate Schiavone’s game when she’s on. Such great court coverage and variety!


madmax Says:

Bartoli’s game is not pleasing on the eye, all these bunny rabbit jumps are irritating. Does anyone else feel the same, is anyone else watching the match?

She even hops when she goes back to her chair! Stop it bartoli!!!! So distracting.


JF Says:

I agree Cindy. :)
Although I would like for Fed to beat Djoko so Nadal could keep his #1 Ranking. I do acknowledge Djoko’s terrific play this year..


jane Says:

Bartoli is hilarious with this boxing dance (as dari or conty pointed out). Her serve toss seems really low sometimes. Anyhow she is pumped, and definitely a character.


Polo Says:

Not only are the women’s matches boring, they are also very irritating to watch and grating on the ears.


dari Says:

Ok, polo turn the channel.
Jane I didn’t say it, but its true :)
No mad max, watching bartoli isn’t easy


Polo Says:

I just did, dari.


jane Says:

The wind is awful. I agree with what Colin said, that it could be a factor in the matches tomorrow. Honestly I think it could give Fed and edge over Nole as Fed just played in it versus Monfils and he is good at dealing with wind. Not sure how Nole would fare, but it could cause more errors on his groundstrokes.


jane Says:

Schiavone just has a much better game than Bartoli but Bartoli played a good point to save that last bp.


fed is afraid Says:

i can’t believe maria lost.
i hope roger and nadal wins tommorrow.
rafa can beat fed, can’t beat novak.
will nbc show both matches?


dari Says:

Congrats on gm 1, Jane!
This could be a good week for you…


jane Says:

I heard NBC has only 3 hours blocked off, fed is afraid, so I am not sure.


jane Says:

Could be dari… Thanks that was an exciting end to the game last night.


Lulu Iberica Says:

I like all the ticks — I find them entertaining. Yes, Bartoli is hilarious! And except for a few particularly grating ones, I like shrieks and grunts. Grunts especially don’t bother me — just an audible by-product of effort.

Of course, the women are not as fast, strong, etc, as the men, and there are too many mental midgets in the WTA. Probably worst of all, there are no great rivalries in the WTA these days — no one is consistent enough for rivalries — and that means not much drama. Serena is my personal fave, and for me she’s the only recent female player who comes close to the charisma and toughness of the top men. Masha is tough, but is still somewhat handicapped by her serve.


fed is afraid Says:

thanks jane!

only 3 hours??
way to go nbc.


Lulu Iberica Says:

Damn it, Frankie! Get it together!


jane Says:

Slices are not working for Frannie; they are floating wide, long, etc perhaps due to the wind. Hitting the powerful groundies, by contrast, is working for Bartoli, and she gets a break to begin the second.

fed is afraid, you are welcome. I think either ESPN2 or the Tennis Channel might have more coverage, or there is always streaming.


madmax Says:

Cannot watch Bartoli play. She has to be the most irritating player ever on court. (SO I’m just blocking her body and her sneezing sounds out).

Frankie, on the other hand..pull it together! I love her playing style and that forehand is incredible.

Really amazing.


andrea Says:

way to go li na. that’s a great win. i like her and francesca so don’t know who to root for in the final, if francesca makes it thru.

i hope murray gets a win over nadal. the match against soderling wasn’t a very good one. yes, nadal played well, but soderling doesn’t have enough variety and the ability to execute variety, to keep nadal on his toes.


WTF Says:

Can Djokovic go calendar year ’11 undefeated? That would be some feat. But every time I think he’s due to lose, he gets stronger and stronger. I wouldn’t bet against him now. The only thing stopping him is injury, because fatigue sure isn’t.

He doesn’t look like losing right now, and I can’t fathom what player it would take to beat him. If Nadal can’t stop him on clay, no one can on any surface. He is playing better in 11 than Federer was in 04-07 I think.

If he keeps this up for as many years as Federer did, he will shatter Fed’s 16 GS tally and become GOAT. I know it’s a bit early to crown him, but he has raised the bar to a higher level than it was when Federer was invincible.


Colin Says:

Lulu, you mean tics, unless Bartoli really is covered in blood-sucking bugs!


WTF Says:

By the way, if Djok wins the French Open, I can see him winning the calendar grand slam.

He can definitely win the US Open, and according to popular opinion, Wimbledon is just clay painted green.


Lulu Iberica Says:

Congrats to Francesca! She’s just a much better player than Bartoli and totally outplayed her. I hope she can defend her title. It should be an interesting match vs Li.

And for tomorrow, vamos Rafa! Only one super hot, out of this world player has beaten Rafa on clay this year, and he must keep it that way! No mercy for Muzza!


jane Says:

Congrats to Fran.

Back to the drawing board, Doctor Walter Bartoli, :/


Lulu Iberica Says:

LOL, Colin, yes, I meant “tics”, but maybe being covered in ticks would explain some of her crazed motions!


Van orten Says:

@wtf…maybe he will never lose again…


jane Says:

Hyperbole about Nole aside, Gilbert has just said it supposed to be windier tomorrow than today even, which, as I mentioned above, I think may favour Fed and Nadal.

I am cheering for Nole and Murray, but that is just my concern.


dari Says:

I don’t know what happened to my post, it was Congrats to fran, gonna be a great final, each winner playing for so much, and that tennis channel picked up the first semi live at 8, is what I heard from a tennis channel guy on twitter. So, thats good news


dari Says:

Boo wind, I just want good tennis. Feel rather Zen about the semis…


margot Says:

Kimberly sorry re Maria, the wind did for her but Li Nah is terrific :)
madmax agree re Bartoli, can’t really watch her, she is SO irritating. Completely out played by Fran too. Her game reminds me of Sod’s, huge hitting but where is plan B or even C? Au contraire Fran is amazing on clay in those awful conditions. Should be a gr8 final, in spite of what the boys say ;)
Yep, if it’s windy tomorrow it won’t help Andy. Just hope he makes it competitive.


madmax Says:

Margot, good to see you. I’ve really missed you.

Let’s see if Andy has got the scottish gumption margot!

I completely concur. Did bartoli always play like that? I can’t remember her being some kind of pole jumper the way she is now, but I was rooting for Frankie. I really like her. She has a game which is pleasing on the eye, touches of henin here and there (particularly with the forehand). Li Na also, how can anyone not like the woman? She is so friendly, so lovely in front of the camera and so funny.

dari Says:
Boo wind, I just want good tennis. Feel rather Zen about the semis…

June 2nd, 2011 at 12:37 pm

dari, strange but I feel that way too.


dari Says:

Margot- hello and good luck to Mr. Murray!
You gotta be proud of the way he’s made it through tough times here at RG. Did you hear about the tooth, too?
Like he said, he didnt go through all this just to get to the semis!


stu Says:

“Feel rather Zen about the semis…”

Yeah, you read my mind. It’s going to be great tennis, could we really ask for more?


Cindy_Brady Says:

LOL, The wind is going to help Fed over Novak. Don’t think so. Djokovic is more consistent than Fed is. These days Novak is faster, fitter, and more confident. He has a bigger serve and returns everything. His groundstrokes (both forehand and backhand) are also better. Only at net can I see where Fed would have a slight edge but on clay, good luck getting there on any consistent basis. Just how is Fed going to beat him? With what? Anyone, give me one tennis related or logical reason OTHER than just hope.

A few years back, in Miami (this was the famous incident where Federer broke his racket in disgust), it was just as windy on hard courts and it was Djokovic toughing out the conditions better, not Federer. Now fast forward 3 years and Djokovic is twice the player he was then. Again, how is Fed going to beat this player, realistically – windy conditions or not?


Kimberly Says:

i have sort of a zen feeling myself. Lets see if if I still have it tomorrow morning. I went into the Soderling match with very little care but half way though that familiar tortourous nervous anxiety returned. Why, over someone who doesn’t know my name (cant say i’ve never met because he did sign my sons tennis ball) But im just a basket case. I do this with every sport and even matches where I don’t care in the beginning im a wreck by the end.


tfouto Says:

i dont like the schedule for tomorrow.

Federer-Djoko should not finish tomorrow… Nadal-Murray can take +4 hrs. The game would finish then after 18h. Not too much time for the next game to finish until then…


skeezerweezer Says:

Interesting if these four guys played doubs together on the same court who would you matchup together with and what would the most competitive match be?


tennisfansince76 Says:

i’m sorry but wind is the enemy of good tennis. sure it takes mental toughness but it just destroys the beauty of the game.


Eric Says:

skeezer… haha! Well I think the best team would be Federer and Djokovic. They could play one up, one back, ha ha. No seriously, I think any pairing would be about the same because all four of them have fairly similar competencies and are good at the net. But probably Federer and Rafa would have to be on opposite teams because they are more experienced at dubs and both do it well and I don’t know about the other two. Murray and Fed, and Rafa and Nole would probably be the closest matchup, but I am just talking out of my ass. What do you think?


Dory Says:

Good thing Nadal’s match is first so I know who to root for in the next semi although my heart will be torn into two. If Nadal reaches the final, then of course I want Djokovic to win the other semi and then he can beat Nadal. If Nadal loses the semi, I want Federer to win the semi and the title. No wait but Djoko has worked SO SO HARD and consistent to break the Fedal stranglehold. I dunno. Overall, if Novak wins, I will be happiest. If Roger wins, then I will be very very very very happy.


Cindy_Brady Says:

I like the wind and outdoor conditions. It makes for more freaky interesting things to happen. I love to see how top pros handle it and make adjustments. If it’s meant to be, champion caliber players find a way to win whether the conditions are pristine or not.


Marijane Says:

For me, Nadal won against Soderling yesterday was coincidental. There was no progress of the game of Nadal. Incidentally Soderling game yesterday was very bad. Sod made ​​many mistakes of hitting the ball. I think Nadal against Murray today, he will meet with many difficulties because Murray is far better than Sod. My estimation, Nadal will lose straight sets.


stu Says:

Fedovic vs. Rafuzz would be the most unbalanced. Offense vs. Defense. Can’t decide what combination would be the most competitive. I want to put Rafa and Nole on opposite teams for their baseline skills, and Muzz and Roger on opposite teams for their volleying. But I don’t want Fedal on the same team coz of the clear experience advantage. And I don’t want Roger-Nole on the same team for the reason stated above – they’d be hitting winners left, right and center.

Wow. Tough question, Skeeze!


stu Says:

“No wait but Djoko has worked SO SO HARD and consistent to break the Fedal stranglehold.”

Yeah. Please let it be his time. Oh to hell with the zen feeling.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Well it would be a fun match, whatever pairings you come with, no? Another one would be FedAndy vs Rafole. Returners against Servers ( get that 1rst in Andy!)


Humble Rafa Says:

Today I was no. 4 in the world may be. Did you see I made 3 backhand mistakes in a row. The last time I did that was when I was 3 years old.


Kimberly Says:

I think maybe my zen feeling is because i am too depressed about todays loss to get excited again.I just can’t stand another Sharapova like disappointment. I must have been delusional to convince myself someone so unreliable could win. Was going to wear my yellow SHarpova dress this afternoon and now I think I will wear something else as it will make me too sad.

On a positive note maybe she can do something at wimbledon. Very few players actually can play on grass. She lost last year to Serena and played her tighter as anyone else there IMO.


madmax Says:

Federer has done us proud reaching the semis, but greedy fans that we are, we want more!

Wind or no Wind, Federer is always able to cope with tough conditions. It has nothing to do with hope. I would like to think Cindy that Federer over the last few days would have been practising his serve, it’s been so ‘on’ this tournament. What do you think?

Also, drive volleys are more evident in his game, so I think having this in place will be just what is needed.

Having said that I was really impressed with the long rallies he was having with monfils. People screaming ‘FED! DON’T GET INTO LONG RALLIES WITH YOUR OPPONENTS!’

But with Monfilss for shots within the rally which were more than 10 shots, Roger won the point. Now, in previous tournaments, when roger got into longer rallies, he lost the point, and before you say it, Monfils is a superb athlete, well able to control the points in rallies, yet he was unable to do that against Federer. This is very promising.

Of course, playing against Novak will be a different strategy altogether, but I have faith.

Also during this tournament, the balls are hard, really hard. Like bullets. Just seen Michael Llodra do an experiment on which of the four balls belonged to which slam. I hadn’t fully appreciated that when Federer commented on the balls over a week ago, he had a point. I thought they used the same balls for every tournament – I understand they did up until Roland Garros.

Does anyone know why the organisers changed them, because it seems it was done at the last minute?

Fast, hard balls, suit Federer. The other balls at wimbledon, AO and USO are much softer, so they don’t fly through the air so quick.

I think the way this is formatted, wind, fast balls, suits federer more.

It’s all hypothetical of course.

Comes down to the better player on the day. No more than that.

Cindy, I think the smashing of the racquet by fed was long overdue and a turning point in his game to be fair, novak, murray, roddick had plenty of smashed racquets and it’s not done their game any harm.

I think that bodes well for the fed.


sheila Says:

i knew nadal would win soderling in 3 sets. soderling doesnt have tennis balls in the big moments. this is a guy who should be beating nadal & doesnt. djokovic is the heavy fvt 2win federer although i would love 2c the upset & roger take it. roger doesnt match up well against nadal because of the 1 handed backhand otherwise, if he had a 2handed backhand he would have won nadal many more times. murray has the game 2beat nadal if he plays aggressive tennis, but he tends to become passive. murray has so much talent but isnt aggressive enuf. however, my fantasy final federer vs murray & fed pulls it out. i know its a dream but if only……


madmax Says:

sheila,

you never know!


Polo Says:

I don’t think Murray stands a chance against Nadal, the way I don’t think Federer stands a chance against Nadal. Djokovic should win over Federer, otherwise, it will be another easy FO title for Nadal.


Cindy_Brady Says:

LMAO at sheila,

You believe Federer would be beating Nadal if he had developed a two handed backhand instead of one?? How many top players in the world have two handed backhands and can’t beat Nadal?

Federer’s one handed back hand was good enough to win 16 grand slams and beat Nadal on other surfaces.

Make no mistake, Federer’s one handed backhand is a great shot. It’s both versatile, flexible, and powerful. People forget the awesome biting slice he gets out of it. He also can drive it flat or with heavy top spin. Federer would not have nearly the variety or flow to his game with a stiff two handed backhand. His one hander is an awesome weapon.

Fed’s one handed backhand is not the reason he has trouble against Rafa. It’s Rafa’s defensive capabilities (making Roger always go for one more shot or too much) and his tenacity. As mentally tough as Roger is, Nadal is even tougher.

The bigger problem with Roger Federer these days isn’t so much his game it’s that his rivals have made their games better and have equaled or even surpassed his. Roger really isn’t playing much different than he did a few years ago, except for a few more errors and maybe a slight loss in confidence. He still moves beautifully and beats everyone except for a couple of the very elite.

Roger’s one handed backhand >>>> 99 percent of the planet. A two hander by Roger Federer would be horrible.


stu Says:

Sorry to keeo reposting this guy’s stuff, but he’s amazing!

James La Rosa’s 88 lines about (Djokovic’s) 44 matches :)
http://bit.ly/jgPGc6


Nina Says:

I love James La Rosa! :)

Cindy Brady, I agree with you 100 %. Good analysis of the game.


mat4 Says:

A very interesting article about Nole’s behaviour (in french)

(…) La série du Serbe fascine autant que le personnage, décrit par ceux qui le côtoient comme un quelqu’un d’une rare sympathie.

(…)

Un juge arbitre: «Peu importe le court ou l’horaire»

Le Serbe n’est pas connu pour ses caprices de stars. Loin de là. Rémy Azémar, juge arbitre adjoint pendant Roland-Garros n’a jamais eu affaire au Serbe depuis le début du tournoi. «Certains ont des exigences en terme de programmation. Ils veulent jouer à telle heure, sur tel court. Ce n’est pas du tout son cas. Il est très facile à vivre.» Central ou Lenglen, début d’après-midi ou de soirée, le Serbe joue quand on le lui demande. Avant de finir son match contre Del Potro, interrompu par la nuit en huitième de finale, Djoko a pourtant effectué une requête, via son entourage. «Les deux joueurs s’étaient mis d’accord pour jouer en début d’après-midi. Dans ce cas, nous, on s’efface», explique Rémy Azémar.

Un organisateur: «Il peut demander des places de concert»

Présent dans les salons de Roland-Garros pour compléter le plateau des prochains tournois de Marseille et Nice, Jean-François Caujolle a fait une croix sur la participation du Serbe. Celle-ci ne se négocierait pas à moins de 500.000 dollars, un prix prohibitif pour les petits budgets français. Pourtant, le directeur de tournoi accueille chaque année le Serbe au Masters1000 de Bercy. Il le décrit comme un joueur sans exigences, qui tient ses engagements. «Une fois, il m’avait demandé des places de concert pour le Bataclan. Je lui ai trouvé ça et il me les a payées. C’est quelqu’un qui aime bien visiter, sortir, même quand il est en tournoi.» Tout l’inverse d’un Nadal, beaucoup plus casanier.

Un ramasseur de balle: «Il dit merci»

Dans l’univers des petits soldats verts, Djokovic fait partie des chouchous. S’il plaît aux ramasseurs, Djoko le doit à sa sympathie plutôt qu’à son jeu. Le Serbe serait «l’un des plus cools» du plateau. Toujours correct, jamais brutal quand il demande sa serviette. Il n’est pas du genre à mettre en place certains rituels, comme le font certains, exigeant leur serviette en boule ou dépliée. Le Serbe ferait même l’effort d’employer quelques mots de français. «Il dit merci», explique l’un d’eux, ce qui ne serait pas courant sur le circuit. Surtout du côté des joueurs français.

http://www.20minutes.fr/article/734855/roland-garros-novak-djokovic-vu-acteurs-circuit


jane Says:

mat4, I hope Nole hasn’t been out seeing concerts lately. ;)

stu, thanks, that was a hoot to read.


mat4 Says:

Jane: It seems he has…


mat4 Says:

It is perhaps Fed’s only chance…


jane Says:

Oh I thought the tickets were for during Bercy, in the past. It says nice things about how professional he is overall, yes.


dari Says:

played in bright bright sun and wind today and won! i won’t make any comparisons of my success to that of my fave…
Kimberly- don’t beat yourself up, just call yourself “passionate” and know that rafa is much more dependable.
Skeezer- that was cool the dubs proposition, but really when i thought about it all i could come up with was that murray is extremely versatile/talented and kind of doesn’t fit into boxes the way fed and rafa, and to a lesser extent, novak do.
serve is there, if only he could do it consistently, touch and variety like fed, legs as good as rafa, great defense like novak, but maybe doesn’t get it back so deep, terrific backhand, on and on. if only he could put it all together in the big matches. doesn’t have to be tomorrow, but SOOOOON would be nice


mat4 Says:

@Jane: Yes, you are right, but I read elsewhere that he spent some time in long walks through the Bois de Boulogne, he went rowing on the Seine (I guess), had lunch with his team at a restaurant…

Who knows what else did he do?


dari Says:

there is apparently some guy who makes some funny twitter jokes about roger and makes them in first person as if roger is speaking himself. lighten it up before semi:
PseudoFed
Trying to get through to Novak to at least give me a set tomorrow. Reality is setting in :( I think he has me on block? #ohcrap #reality
PseudoFed
Trying to take my mind off tomorrow. Taking Murky, the nannies, my staff, my chef, my hair stylist and foot masseur shopping. #GOAT
PseudoFed
“RF” silk pyjamas have been ironed. My assistant is making me hot (Swiss) milk and will put on a DVD (Rocky 2). He says it will help. #ohno


Tennislover Says:

“I like the wind and outdoor conditions. It makes for more freaky interesting things to happen. I love to see how top pros handle it and make adjustments. If it’s meant to be, champion caliber players find a way to win whether the conditions are pristine or not.”

While I agree that it is a great challenge to find a way out of these tricky conditions, I think the ability to adjust effectively differs widely from player to player due to the limitations imposed by their default playing styles. This is independent of their ability to make tactical or strategic adjustments. A player like Nadal, for instance, has a lot more margin for error because he imparts so much spin on the ball. He can afford to grind it out sending moon/junk balls and avoiding risky play. Nadal can also play offensively in the wind as we saw against Sod who struggled to serve in the wind due to the high ball toss. Nadal served 77% first serves and hit very few UEs. It was a remarkably clean performance in tricky conditions against a tricky opponent. However, Nadal is likely to handle the extremely windy conditions by sticking more to his default conservative style.

On the other extreme is a player like Federer who has a very attacking style and whose game demands more precision timing than perhaps anyone in the game’s history. Windy conditions are, therefore, likely to affect his timing the most as there is hardly any margin for error in his game. If he makes the adjustments, his effectiveness gets compromised especially against the top players. Of all the top players, he goes for the lines the most with his serve and groundies. He will also have big trouble judging the timing on his different kinds of slices. There is an impression that he is a bit of a wind master and Soderling USO 2010 is cited often. The Monfils match also “appeared” to be another example although Federer could serve only 53% first serves against Monfils’ 65%. We tend to forget, as Cindy pointed out, Miami 2009 against Djokovic or the initial part of Wimby 2008 against Nadal. Both these guys handled the windy conditions much better than Federer.

I think Djokovic has more margin for error in his game considering the consistent solidity of his ground strokes and his ability to grind out long rallies. He also can afford to play the waiting game against Federer. Wind or no wind, this Djokovic is the big favorite against Federer. Federer will certainly prefer less windy conditions. There is a reason why he has such a good record indoors where the elements are not a factor and pure tennis skills come to the fore. Although Djokovic seems to have improved his stamina quite miraculously, I am sure he still prefers playing indoors or the evening sessions.

Beyond a point, extreme conditions just make it an ugly game. One can argue that they are the same for both the players but they affect different players’ games differently and generally, the quality of tennis suffers in the process.


skeezerweezer Says:

dari,

Nice you got to play tennis today!! I can’t watch the Fed/Nole match live tomorrow ( on the road again ) so I am counting on you and kimmi cheer Fed on for me and type let h#ll. There are too many Nole fans at the moment, so give em h$ll…hahahaha….j/k hope it’s an enjoyable match and not a blowout either way :-)


dari Says:

ok, skeeze. i was thinking about setting up a tennis date and being conveniently busy during the fed/novak match, but nobody could play friday am. guess i’ll have to watch ;)


mat4 Says:

I think that it is his way to cope with pressure: have a long walk… play and joke with McEnroe… give an interview…

Gamewise, I don’t give Roger the shadow of a chance tomorrow. After the first long rallies, after the first set his serve percentage will drop, he will be under pressure on his backhand, and he has no clear plan to win (this is the difference between him and AM: Andy can almost play the same kind of efficient game Nole plays against Rafa).

His main chance is the four days break. I think that, on one side, it is good for Djoko: against Gasquet, we could see that he was slow in the first two sets, and although I am not quite certain, his body language betrayed fatigue. But four days is a long time to think: about the number one spot, about the final, about the streak, about a place in history…

Roger know it, and he has already started with some of his mind games, just like he did with Murray last year. Because, yes, he wants to win too, and this match is important for him too, almost as important as for Djoko.

How will Djoko play tomorrow? Nobody can know it for sure.


Eric Says:

mat4,
I do not buy at all the idea that Nole will be in any hampered by his four days off. We’re supposed to think he’s been sitting around thinking about the no. 1 ranking and facing Rafa and pacing around working up nerves he wouldn’t have if he had to play a QF? Bunk! All he’s been doing is resting, relaxing, recharging, and probably a lot of practicing and fine-tuning his anti-Roger strategies and tactics. The only conceivable problem is that he might be a bit rusty in the first set, but I don’t buy that either – he’s probably played a few practice sets, at the very least, with his entourage and other plays. I’m sure he will be 100% prepared for his match and no more nervous or under-pressure than he would have been with a QF – the only difference is that he’ll be even fresher.

And it’s awfully pessimistic to give Roger no chance against him! Roger has the game to beat anyone, including Rafa and Djokovic, on any surface. The question is how they will match up on clay (we don’t know this very well), how much he will be able to impose his own game plan instead of reacting to Nole, and indeed how they will generally handle the conditions and the match itself… I don’t give Roger a good chance to win – I think it will be Djokovic in four – but for sure he could win in straight sets if he plays his very best tennis and takes charge of the course of the match, instead of acting like a backboard that just tries to get into long rallies with Djokovic…


Cindy_Brady Says:

Tennislover,

So Nadal isn’t affected as much by the wind as Federer is, because why? Nadal has more margin for error. You’re only looking at it from the point of view of the action of the ball after it leaves the strings. Nadal also takes big swings which is needed to impart that spin in the 1st place. He’s just as vulnerable to miss hitting the ball as anyone else with those types of swings. His game has to be precise as well as anyone else to be successful.

Also, Federer takes shorter swings, allowing for quicker adjustments in windy conditions far easier than Nadal or Djokovic can. Look at how many times he half volleys ground strokes. Also, he can hit flatter and through the wind. Some of those Nadal moon balls that you called it could be taken and blown out by the wind too.

The wind has a way of affecting both styles of play. Both styles need to make quick adjustments and be sharp to win.

This is all I’m saying.


Eric Says:

As for windy conditions, they are part of tennis just like anything else so it’s no good to say “so-and-so’s tennis just isn’t suited for windy conditions!” The point is, they need to find a way to win anyway. Otherwise, kaput!

By the way, I don’t blame the wind for Robin’s loss. I blame his nerves. He came out serving poorly – losing the first three games of the match in a row. In game 4, he broke Nadal’s service and then outplayed him for the rest of the set, but not enough to get the second break back. 6-4. At the start of the second set, he held serve easily and then should have broken Rafa’s, for a chance to serve at 2-0. But then Rafa won 3 amazingly lucky points in a row (one shot of Robin’s JUST out, two of his JUST touching the line… probably hawkeye would have shown one of them at least out.) and held serve. Angry, Robin dropped his next service game and then spiraled out of control for the rest of the set and early in the third. But then with Rafa serving at 2-1 (I think) in the third set, he got it back together again, broke Rafa, and completely outplayed him for the rest of that set – but, again, just not quite enough to actually convert any of the 4-5 bps he earned. And then we all know what happened in the tiebreaker. The point is, Robin dealt with the conditions just fine – but he didn’t deal with the pressure of facing Rafa well.


Cindy_Brady Says:

Eric,

Well put. Robin also beat Roger last year in windy heavy conditions and handled his nerves much better. The wind didn’t beat Robin against Rafa. He was just misfiring and Rafa took full advantage as he usually does.


mat4 Says:

@Eric: I was perhaps a bit unclear: Djokovic really did what I wrote, so it could be a way to cope with the pressure. But I believe that it won’t affect his game more than usual.

Although I like Fed’s game very much, I don’t believe that on clay – especially on a slower surface – he has chances against anyone. In his best years, he had always problems against Rafa’s gameplan, and he manage to solve them only one, in Hamburg. Madrid was another kind of match: after 4 hours of playing the previous day, Rafa was barely playing.

What are his problems? We know them all: his backhand. But his serve becomes a liability on clay, too. Roger takes about 8 to 10 seconds to serve, almost always targeting the lines. After a 20 shots rally, without a little rest (Rafa takes about 20 seconds more, Djoko about 15), he can’t serve like this with a good percentage. On the other side, he cannot serve with a bigger safety margin, because Djokovic hits his returns deep, on the backhand or right under the feet of the server, and puts a lot of pressure on him.

Then, although the clay at RG is dry and fast this year, the rebound is still very high. Roger will have to take a step backward to hit his backhand, especially since Djokovic balls fall close to the lines, and the errors could start.

When the backhand breaks, his forehand breaks too, because he has to play it more often, to excel, to take more risks. But against Djokovic, on clay, just like against Nadal, you just can’t finish points in two strokes all the time.

What could be Roger’s plan? I can’t rely on his serve, nor his backhand. In the best of five sets, since 2007, Roger has won on fast surfaces, and lost matches on slow. In the best of three sets, since MC 2008, Roger has never won on a slower surface against Novak. They played most of the time on middle fast surface (USO, Cincy, Basel…), but their few matches on clay (Rome), or on a slower hard (Indian Wells, twice) were all won by Djokovic.

Then, let’s not be fooled by Roger’s results at the FO: he didn’t play Soderling, nor Del Potro. How many wins has Gael Monfils against the top four? Tipsarevic? His draw wasn’t that difficult. And like you said, times when Roger was searching his form in the early rounds to play perfect tennis in the final are gone.


Cindy_Brady Says:

mat4 is a Roger Federer hater.


Daniel Says:

Nadal has problem with wind too, remember a match they had last year, don`t remember the tourney now?!


Daniel Says:

S..t! missed the important part: Nadal x Verdasco in a hard court tourney.


Eric Says:

Mat4, okay — I see what you were getting at. Your analysis of course is excellent. We will just have to wait and see. But Roger always will have his chances; maybe he will take them, maybe he won’t; Maybe Djokovic will have & take more. Probably this last possibility is most likely.

By the way, though, I am sure he could have defeated Soderling. Roger returns some player’s serve poorly, but even though Soderling’s is big Roger has hardly ever had trouble with it. And like Rafa, he could have capitalized on Robin’s weak spots. But again, we’ll just have to see tomorrow whether he can handle Nole…


Daniel Says:

Dah, US Open 2010, the first set was competitive.


margot Says:

truefan @5.29, unfortunately I agree with you re Andy, just hope he makes it competitive and takes a set. This ankle injury is making him have an even slower start than usual, plus the wind :( I remember an awful windy match against Rafa where Andy totally lost it :( Lol he could blink and be two sets down against Rafa.
dari@7.13. Oh yes, please Andy get it together soon, not at RG this year, I think but next? OMG Tennis is just like gardening, u r continually looking forward…

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