Serena v. Azarenka Today in Toronto, Djokovic v. Tsonga in Montreal
by Sean Randall | August 13th, 2011, 10:59 am
  • 97 Comments

After a turbulent four days in Canada things settled down for the Friday quarterfinals. In Montreal, there were no real big surprises.

Novak Djokovic continued his winning ways steamrolling Gael Monfils 6-2, 6-1. The Serb, who’s playing his first week as a No. 1, is showing now signs of slowing down and no lack of motivation/interest.

“I have played the best match of the tournament, no doubt. Everything was going well,” said Djokovic after his 51st win of the year. “I had a difficult game on two-all to hold my serve. After that, when I made the first break, it was incredible. 9, 10 games in a row. I’m happy to see my game is progressing each day.”

Next for Novak is another Frenchman, Roger Federer’s conqueror JW Tsonga. Tsonga followed his Federer upset with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Nicolas Almagro.

Tsonga actually leads Djokovic 5-3 but Novak prevailed in the only 2011 meeting in the Wimbledon semifinals last month.

“The last match was very close, very intense, very important for both of us,” Djokovic said. “He’s been playing better in last couple of months. I think he increased his level. He’s and all around player. He can play pretty well on all surfaces. He has a big serve. If he serves well, he can beat anybody. He showed that in previous couple of tournaments.

“So it’s going to be tough one. It’s a fast surface. I need to return well and hope that I can get some chances.”

And Tsonga seems to be running low on fuel.

“I was a bit tired today,” Tsonga said Friday. “I lacked energy. The match yesterday took a lot of stamina, and today my energy level was low. Therefore, I decided to focus on only a number of return games and try to focus on holding my serve. It was a way for me to save the energy I had left, not playing hard every game.”

If Tsonga is weary in any way, Djokovic will punish him. But if the Frenchman is fit he should give Djokovic a run for his money. The quick courts will help Tsonga but I don’t think he call off another upset.

In the early semifinal, the red-hot Mardy Fish will up against Janko Tipsarevic. After splitting the first two sets Fish bageled a listless Stan Wawrinka in the third set. Tipsarevic pulled a minor surprise upsetting Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-4.

Fish has won three straight over Janko to lead 3-1 and today the American is the clear favorite.

“Mardy is an intelligent player,” Tipsarevic said. “He’s an example of an all-around player that can defend, stay back, be passive, but then on the other hand go to the net, play serve and volley and completely mix up the game.”

This one could go either way but I stick with Fish. Mardy’s played to well, to consistently to let down here.

In Toronto, in arguably the biggest match of the day Serena Williams continues her comeback against World No. 4 Victoria Azarenka. The Belarussian has been a wrecking machine all week losing just six games in three matches. But now it’s Serena who has won four of five against Azarenka. Big difference.

“Since she has been back, she (Serena) has been showing some excellent tennis,” Azarenka said. “I saw her play in Stanford. She played great. It doesn’t matter if she didn’t play for a year, she’s done it before. She knows how to play tennis.”

Serena has been struggling a little needing three sets in her last two matches. And with Azarenka in form it should be an interesting test, especially for Azarenka who really needs a big win like this to cement her name as a top player.

Despite Azarenka’s gaudy numbers, I think you have to pick Serena here.

The early semifinal will has Samantha Stosur going up against Agnieszka Radwanska.

ESPN2 will have live TV coverage of the Fish match at 3pm followed by tape of the Radwanska semifinal. Tonight at 8pm they are back on with split coverage of Novak and Serena’s matches.

MONTREAL SATURDAY SCHEDULE

CENTRAL start 1:00 pm
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) vs T Berdych (CZE) / F Mayer (GER)
Not Before 3:00 PM
[6] M Fish (USA) vs J Tipsarevic (SRB)
Not Before 6:00 PM
[4] M Llodra (FRA) / N Zimonjic (SRB) vs [2] M Mirnyi (BLR) / D Nestor (CAN)
Not Before 8:00 PM
[1] N Djokovic (SRB) vs [13] J Tsonga (FRA)

TORONTO SATURDAY SCHEDULE

Centre Court (from 11.00hrs)
1. Rogers Legends Cup: Chang vs. McEnroe
2. Samantha Stosur vs. Agnieszka Radwanska (NB 13.00hrs)
3. Huber/Raymond vs. Dulko/Pennetta
4. Victoria Azarenka vs. Serena Williams (NB 18.30hrs)
5. Rogers Legends Cup: Agassi vs. Courier


Also Check Out:
Roger Federer Withdraws From Montreal
Canadian Open Tennis Thursday Preview; Olympic Hangover Notes
Serena, Djokovic Eye Titles Sunday in Canada
Same Old Tsonga, Federer Out in Montreal; Sharapova Shocked in Toronto
Roger Federer: What’s Important is to Get Thru the Early Rounds in Montreal [Video]

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97 Comments for Serena v. Azarenka Today in Toronto, Djokovic v. Tsonga in Montreal

billyboy512 Says:

Anyone else losing interest in this Canadian tournament as quickly as I have?


jane Says:

Year Rogers Cup Cincy US Open winner        
2010 Murray  Federer  Nadal         
2009  Murray  Federer  Delpo         
2008 Nadal  Murray  Federer         
2007  Djokovic  Federer  Federer         
2006 Federer  Roddick  Federer         
2005  Nadal  Federer  Federer         
2004 Federer  Agassi  Federer         
2003  Roddick  Roddick  Roddick         
2002  Canas  Moya  Sampras         
2001  Pavel  Kuerten  Hewitt         
2000  Safin  Enqvist  Safin

^ That list is from tennis planet. It looks like there is no consistency for Rogers Cup or Cincy winners in terms of how they do at the USO. Four times in the last ten years, the Roger’s Cup winner has won the USO (Fed x 2, Roddick, and Safin) and three times the Cincy winner has won the USO (Fed x 2, Roddick)

Only ONCE in the last ten years has someone won all three: that was Roddick in 2003. And it is interesting that nearly everytime Fed has won the USO he has won one of the lead in Masters Events. Fed has five USOs I think (haven’t checked) which would mean the only exception is 2008. I find it intriguing that it is the opposite for Rafa. The only time he won the USO, he won none of the lead in tournaments. Different strokes. :)

Does anyone know if the surface for Rogers Cup in Montreal has been changed? I noticed that several players have commented on how fast it is playing, from Fish, to Isner, to Nole. Fish usually doesn’t do well in Canada (never past round one) but he does usually do well in Cincy, a known fast court. And if the surface has been switched it could at least partially explain the many early upsets. Of course rustiness is a big factor, but maybe (?) the faster court, if it has been changed, is a factor?     


Sean Randall Says:

Jane, I don’t think the surface has changed much over the years. It’s always been very fast/slick if I recall.

Cincy’s fast as well but I think the heat/humidity maybe slows it down a tad.


jane Says:

Interesting, Sean, because I always thought Cincy was faster than Rogers. I know that the Canadian tennis association has built clay courts (indoor) for the players to practice/train on, and I was thinking they may’ve quickened the surface for Raonic’s benefit even? Maybe that’s to cynical. The website just states it is deco turf but I haven’t found anything about modifications. I know that Isner complained about how fast the courts were playing though.


Kimmi Says:

what a chance for fish to get to the final here!


jane Says:

Fish and Tipsy are on, with Fish up a break, serving for a 3-0 lead.


jane Says:

This is Fish’s fourth time as a Masters Series finalist. Since Cincy finals last year, he has been consistent, esp on hard courts.


steve-o Says:

Fish was too versatile for Tipsarevic, he likes coming to net. Plus he served very well.


Kimmi Says:

serene vs vika, good match so far


Nina Says:

Anyone saw today’s performance from Djoko? He completely destroyed Monfils, clinic annihilation. He looks even more dangerous than he did before. I predict a new streak going… everyone be afraid, very afraid.


Andrew Miller Says:

Montreal is a good surface for yanks. Roddick has won there, Agassi has won there or finaled there, and Fish now there. Surprised more yanks don’t play it.

Glad to see Fish doing well. He is making good on his potential.


dari Says:

Some really great points in the serena/ vika match.
Kimmi you should be in for a treat either way tomorrow :)


jane Says:

Kimmi, it seems to me like it is all Serena. And tnat she is going to win everything now.


dari Says:

Ummm, I don’t think you’ll have to worry about who you will see, I don’t see serena letting this one go. She seems subdued, but coming up with some fantastic shots


jane Says:

Agree dari. Serena’s accuracy is dead on tonight. Huge serves. And, is it me, or is she faster than ever before? Seems like she is getting to everything.


Kimmi Says:

Yeah, serena gets the first set…one more, one more.

We go early tomorrow. i have to be there at 10 am. The match starts at 12:30pm hear.


Kimmi Says:

azarenka is pumped up now..if only she could tone down the scream, I could find myself rooting for her once in while.


dari Says:

I can recall AO 2010 better than Wimbledon 2010 for some reason (maybe because roger won!) and she looks fitter and faster than then for sure.
Making it count once she gets to the ball, too, a la your guy, Jane


Kimmi Says:

djokovic is just amazing at the moment. watch the way he is going to demolish tsonga tonight.


jane Says:

Aza looks thin, her legs especially, and taller even. Probably the two perceptions go hand in hand. I like Vika’s compete level and I get the impression her attitude has improved too.

What is Stosur’s record like versus Serena? (not that I think anyone is stopping Serena from winning ;))


Kimmi Says:

now the men have to wait for women to finish, they want to show both live on the same channel..that means less time to recover for one in the final.


jane Says:

Don’t know what I think of Serena’s pink highlights. Intriguing anyhow. Wow her serving is soooo gooood!


jane Says:

Aza digging her own grave with errors…


Kimmi Says:

She got out of it..serena gave it away a little there


Kimmi Says:

aza is doing great job attacking serena second serve..serena is winning 6/20 (30%)..that is bad. but she is ahead..go figure!


Brando Says:

If tsonga is still feeling tired and lacking in energy im sure djokovic will oblige and make it a short stay for him. But if he is feeling good then he can cause djokovic problems and make a match of it. Can he win? YES. Will he? I’d say he got a less than 30 % chance…..


jane Says:

Wow Serena blonde! That was a different look altogether.


jane Says:

Kimmi that is because Serena isn’t serving many second serves! :)


Kimmi Says:

OK..this is OVER now..


jane Says:

Brando, definitely Tsonga can cause (and has caused) Nole trouble. Jo has just beaten Fed twice in a row which says something about Jo’s present form. He can last too. Although he said he lacked energy, he did play doubles last night so he could not have been *that* tired. I think he’ll be more than ready to go tonight.


Kimmi Says:

that could explain jane..but she is serving at 57% though..

OK, this was easier than her last two match it seem..officially I go see serena. Hope for great tennis tomorrow.

Bring on the men now..

GO WORLD NUMERO UNO!!


jane Says:

Kimmi, oh, well that is odd. It seemed like Serena was getting in more first serves. Anyhow, kudos to Serena; I am sure she will win the title. I hope you have fun tomorrow!! Glad you get to see Serena and near to her best too!!


Kimmi Says:

Lets say she was able to win the BIG point jane..that is only what matters in tennis.


Kimmi Says:

azarenka always wins her early round matches very easy and then she loses easily when she meets a decent player. happens at wimbledon, happens today. she needs that killer instinct.


Kimmi Says:

tsonga has admitted that he can beat everybody except djokovic. that does not bode so well for him tonite.


jane Says:

Yeah, Vika’s draw here played out pretty comfortably, until she met Serena.


Brando Says:

@Kimmi: where did you hear/ read that? If true then he’s got no chance going into a match thinking like that.

I think djokovic aura is now leading to alot of his opponents losing before they come onto court. That usually always happens in most sports when one is faced with a dominating force.


Kimmi Says:

One of our commentator (in canada) mentioned that yesterday and indirectly today.


Kimmi Says:

is nole still wearing adidas shoes? he matches up with his outfit well tonight. he used to wear only black and white.


Kimmi Says:

is nole still wearing adidas shoes? he matches up with his outfit well tonight. he used to wear only black and white.


Brando Says:

thanks. hope jo does better than la monf yesterday- at least to leave the tourny with good vibes if anything.


jane Says:

Brando, at Wimbledon Jo said something like that. But that was after he lost their match, not before. Since he has been in Montreal, he said that he feels good “in his head.”

If Jo serves really well, and Nole doesn’t, then Jo can put a lot of pressure on Nole, like by charging into the net as he has just done in this game.

Nole served well there, though.


grendel Says:

Brando – Tsonga made the remark after being beaten by Djokovic at Wimbledon. Since it was in response to a loss just suffered, I don’t think you can take the comment as being general. Tsonga strikes me as being the sort of player who will give himself a chance against anyone. Or, put it another way. He is probably a realist and accepts that Djokovic is a big favourite. But he doesn’t strike me as being afraid of winning. So if the opportunity arises, it is likely he will go for it and not freeze. If it doesn’t arise – a gallic shrug of the shoulders.


jane Says:

Kimmi, I feel like there is maybe a little too much colour in Nole’s outfit, with the coloured shoes and the colours on the top and shorts. I would prefer if either the shorts were solid black or the shoes were black. But whatever works!

I am leaving for a few days tomorrow so may not see the final or the beginning of Cincy. May not have internet access to check scores either. Oh well. :) Trying to make picks for the Cincy draw, but it is so difficult. Like who to pick in Gasquet vs. Dolgo for example? Did you make your picks? Who are you picking for the title?


Kimmi Says:

OK, so he said this after he lost to djokovic. I though he said it here..that explains.

bad misses from djokovic there


Dory Says:

Tsonga worries me today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hi everyone ;)


jane Says:

Hi Dory. Ditto.


Kimmi Says:

aw, you wont see djokovic lift the trophy..to bad. I hope he does.

I havent done the picking yet. as much as it is not realistic for djokovic to win every tournament, i will pick him till he loses.


Dory Says:

This is a good opportunity for Nole to improve his H2H winning % against Tsonga though. He needs to improve his H2H against Murray, Fed, Nadal and Roddick too.


jane Says:

Tsonga is so good at those drop volleys!


jane Says:

Like that shorter serve out wide from Nole. He is mixing up his serves well so far.


mat4 Says:

Nole looks a bit nervous. JW too.


mat4 Says:

Hi everybody. I forgot. Sorry.


jane Says:

Hi mat4. What a return. Outrageous!


Dory Says:

Yes! A relief! Novak takes set 1.


Kimmi Says:

what a return..this guy is good.

federer would have flat that one out :(


Kimmi Says:

*float*


mat4 Says:

It’s incredible: he managed to return that service just once, on set point, and broke.


jane Says:

He did something similar with Cilic in set one, but it was for the break, to go up 6-5, and serve it out.


Kimmi Says:

that is rafa/djoko type of point..rafa does not like tha either..


Kimmi Says:

oh noooo! bye bye jo.


Duro Says:

Poor Mardy…


mat4 Says:

Always the same pattern: in the second set Djoko usually starts to read better the serve, a few long rallies and this serve is less precise, then a break.


Kimmi Says:

now the niggling injuries starts to hurt even more..c’mon nole..HOLD!


Kimmi Says:

mat4 – who do cheer today, Jo or djoko?


jane Says:

Tsonga’s strategy of hammering a number of his second serves is a risky one, but it has worked pretty well. Only Nole’s returns are working a little better.


Kimmi Says:

Duro..haha you already give nole the trophy..i see.


jane Says:

Well, Jo is making a push in this game, using a lot more slice I see.


Kimmi Says:

there was a challenge there..what happened. they cut us off as if it was ‘in’ already.


mat4 Says:

@Kimmi:

My tennis idol was Jimmy Connors, and you can’t really change. So I always liked players with two handed backhand, good baseline play, and a wish to go forward.

I like them both. But Djoko a bit more.


jane Says:

What?!!


Kimmi Says:

what..he retired. what the *F*. he was not that bad imo.

oh well, congrats djokovic.


jane Says:

What happened. That ended too abruptly. I think maybe Jo should have pulled out of doubles and rested up last night. Maybe he overdid it a little, :( too bad, as it was an ejoyable match and I thought Tsonga tried some good stuff. He wasn’t as speedy as he was versus Fed though.


Kimmi Says:

Ofcourse, now that he is in the final..i cant see fish winning. duro, congrats to your guy. amazing year indeed.

Time to fill in my bracket. Djokovic all the way.


Duro Says:

Kimmimmissimo, if Nole wins the fifth masters title of the year, who’s gonna best it, what do you think and when?


Kimmi Says:

he was very speedy jane. nole has a thing about making everybody look slow. rafa has seem slow too which is kind of strange.


Dory Says:

Tsonga was always very good if not for the weak mental attitude that he last showed for example at FO (against Wawrinka). If he overcomes that, he can be such a huge threat. He HAS changed his game since then to be far more aggressive, serve tons better, FH is lethal and less lapses in concentration.

Too bad he had to retire. He had almost lost.

Fish vs Djoko always matches very bad for Fish’s game though Fish is playing very good right now.


mat4 Says:

Pitty. But the winner seemed out of the question.

Mardy is an intelligent player, but I don’t see what he can find to beat Djoker. Perhaps rushing to the net? It could be interesting. But we just have seen that JWT didn’t manage to go to the net more than 11 times in almost two sets.


Kimmi Says:

Durosimmmo – i cant even fight with you aginst muzza. your guy is in another league. he is breaking his own records now. one word A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!


jane Says:

Maybe that is true Kimmi. Nole was “seeing” the ball very well.

What happened with the challenge? Was it in? Maybe when he lost the point, he just said, forget it? I don’t want to hurt my arm more or whatever. I thought the slice tactic was a good one.


mat4 Says:

@Jane:

You’re right. It is slowing the game when it goes too fast, and Djoko doesn’t like balls without pace.

But it seems he’s able to hit harder those balls with his backhand with more pace and length, and he could be working on this weakness of his game.


Kimmi Says:

the “slice”. that is how federer beta djokovic at the FO. when is fed going to play like that again?


jane Says:

Yeah, mat4, Nole was getting down to those slices, picking them up, and returning them with pace, and also at least one of Jo’s slices floated long perhaps because of the pace of Nole’s ball.

Tsonga did mention his right arm after the Almagro match, and then he played doubles, so he overdid it.

Nice to see Nole signing so many autographs and hanging out for photos with the fans too. The Canadian commentators said he is coming up to the booth to chat, :).


Duro Says:

Thanks, Kimmi.

Nole completed in every aspect. It took 24 years for it.

Golden, golden time…


mat4 Says:

Kimmi:

I ask myself this question too. Why Roger didn’t play more slice at the AO against Nole? Then, I am certain that somebody who watches and plays tennis everyday, who has won 16 slams, he has to know better. You can’t argue with Roger. Maybe it is the court surface, the rebound is higher (on clay Roger slice rebounds about 8 inches), perhaps the passivity of that shot. I still don’t know. It worked before against Novak.


Duro Says:

Jane, Mat4, good night. Congrats.

Mat, I left you an answer in the other thread, but I suggest we don’t go too much into it. Not a pleasant theme.

Cheers.


mat4 Says:

Goodnight, Duro.


Dory Says:

I am beginning to wonder if Nole can do a “Masters Series Slam” this year (of course he skipped Monte Carlo but that is an optional tournament). Would be another unique feat for superman Nole. He’s setting his own unique records.


mat4 Says:

Duro:

I have backed up with numbers in a article on Sportvox, and I wrote a short post here too.

Franulovic and Pilic are both from Split, they played doubles together for Yugoslavia in the seventies, and they are close.


jane Says:

Bye Duro. :)


mat4 Says:

@Jane: your opinion about the final?


jane Says:

mat4, I won’t be able to watch it, first off. :( I guess Fish can be wily, as you pointed out, and it’s in the day, whereas Nole’s last two matches have been at night. Fish has played great tennis this hard court season. But Nole is the favorite. I think I’d give Nole 63% chance of winning? What say you?


mat4 Says:

Yes, I like Fish, and although he maybe doesn’t read Dostoievski, he showed lot of intelligence and understanding of his opponent on the court today.

I think he will try to rush to the net and play short rallies. I should try to shock Novak, chipping returns and rushing to the net. And who knows?

I would gave him precisely 29,2% chances to win. Perhaps 29,4%, it is not easy to accurate. :-)


mat4 Says:

Fish amazes me: how did he drop 30 pounds? I try to do it for years unsuccessfully.


jane Says:

Mardy said he gave up beer and pizza. ;) Just kidding. Although I do think he said something like that once. Just eating healthier. I am sure he’s changed his training too. He is good at net. All the Masters finals he’s been in, versus Roddick & Fed in Cincy, and versus Nole at IW have been tight contests. Mardy is sure to come to the court wanting to mix it up against Nole, and serve big.


mat4 Says:

Anyway, to be slender is overestimated.


margot Says:

mat4: u can’t be too thin or too rich, apparently ;)
(Mrs Simpson?)
Wow Nole, just phenomenal…..

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Rankings
ATP - Sep 15 WTA - Sep 15
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Rafael Nadal2 Simona Halep
3 Roger Federer3 Petra Kvitova
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Maria Sharapova
5 David Ferrer5 Agnieszka Radwanska
6 Milos Raonic6 Na Li
7 Tomas Berdych7 Eugenie Bouchard
8 Kei Nishikori8 Angelique Kerber
9 Marin Cilic9 Caroline Wozniacki
10 Grigor Dimitrov10 Ana Ivanovic
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