Nadal, Murray Collide For Tokyo Title; Berdych Battles Cilic In Beijing
by Sean Randall | October 8th, 2011
  • 159 Comments

We have a good one tonight in Tokyo with Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray hooking up for the Japan Open title.

Nadal rolled through Mardy Fish 7-5, 6-1 while Murray blew out David Ferrer 6-2, 6-3. So both rivals are playing some good tennis.

“I think it will be a very difficult match, he is doing very well winning last week in Bangkok and now into another final,” said Nadal. “I will have to play my best tennis to have any chance, it’s a big challenge playing against him.”

“Any chance”, Rafa? Nobody believes that! Nadal has simply dominated the head-to-head with Murray leading 13-4 (1-1 in finals) with five straight wins. But Rafa who won the Tokyo title last year has never defended a title off clay, and we know Murray plays his best tennis at the smaller events like Tokyo. So even though I hate picking him, I’ll take Murray here in this first meeting between the two in Asia.

“I think he’s played some very good tennis the last couple of matches,” said Murray who has won 19 of his last 20 matches. “He’s always tough. He won here last year, so he likes the conditions.”

Nadal’s 65th match win today moves him ahead of Novak Djokovic’s 64. And it keeps his slim hopes alive for the No. 1 year-end ranking.

Nadal also hasn’t won a title off clay since Tokyo last year, and the French Open was his last tournament win.

In Beijing, Tomas Berdych took out JW Tsonga in three sets 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 to set up a final against Marin Cilic who knocked out his countryman Ivan Ljubicic 6-4, 6-3.

“To be a second time in the Beijing final is great feeling coming after this summer,” said Cilic. “I played some great tournaments, and I mentioned that I was in pretty good form. That pleases me a lot, that I know when I play well that I can beat those guys and that my tennis is on a good level.”

The women’s final features Angieska Radwanska against Andrea Petkovic in showdown of two players trying to get those final spots in Turkey.

Tennis Channel has live coverage on the Tokyo Nadal-Murray final at 1am ET Saturday night. The Beijing women’s final will be live on Tennis Channel 7:30am ET Sunday morning, with tape of the men’s final to follow.

SUNDAY TOKYO SCHEDULE

CENTRE COURT start 2:00 pm
[1] R Nadal (ESP) vs [2] A Murray (GBR)
[4] F Cermak (CZE) / F Polasek (SVK) vs A Murray (GBR) / J Murray (GBR) – After Minimal Rest

SUNDAY BEIJING SCHEDULE

NATIONAL TENNIS STADIUM start 1:00 pm
[3] M Llodra (FRA) / N Zimonjic (SRB) vs R Lindstedt (SWE) / H Tecau (ROU) – ATP
[3] T Berdych (CZE) vs M Cilic (CRO) – ATP

Not Before 7:30 PM
[11] A Radwanska (POL) vs [9] A Petkovic (GER) – WTA


Also Check Out:
Serena Williams Pulls Out Of Tokyo, Beijing Remains On Her Schedule
Nadal, Murray Through To Tokyo Quarterfinals; Tsonga Stays Hot In Beijing
Djokovic Cruises In Beijing; Murray Meets Milos In Tokyo
Cilic Crushes Nadal, Meets Djokovic for Beijing Title; Tsonga, Hewitt Reach Tokyo Final
ATP Fall Guide: Where The Big Boyz – Nadal, Djokovic, Federer – Will Be Playing

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159 Comments for Nadal, Murray Collide For Tokyo Title; Berdych Battles Cilic In Beijing

alison hodge Says:

last year when berdy beat muzza at the fo to get to the semis,then roger and nole,back to back at wimby to get to the final,i thought he was destined for big things,sadly it wasnt to be as he lacks concistency and never built upon that success,cilic apears to have done the same thing both are really talented who i wish would be more concistent and do better,the final should be interesting to see where they are both at,a title i feel would be a good springboard i feel for either player.


jane Says:

I kind of feel like Cilic needs the title more than Berdy, but what you say is true alison. I checked their h2h and it is 2-1 for Berdych, but Cilic win came this year. So it is tough to call. Definitely Berdych with more big match experience though…


Brando Says:

I think both matches are a 50/50 affair- should be good fun.


Kimberly Says:

I am rooting for Cilic. His performance has been so dismal since AO 2010 that it would be nice to see him get a title. Yet I guess it would help Berdych qualify. Hmmmm. I am hoping Fish qualifies so until he does I am not rooting for anyone else to qualify so they don’t take his spot. Ferrer should qualify next week, he’s just under the cut. So really three spots available. So another reason to root for Cilic. Wow, I sound like a real pyscho.


Kimmi Says:

Love cilic, love murray, i hope they both win. they are both underdogs in their matches though, Fingers crossed.


Kimberly Says:

draw challenge is out…challenge.atpworldtour.com join tennisxfans, bracket closes at 1:00am ET, pretty unexciting draw but would still be nice to see everyone. Me and Colin06 have already picked.


Kimmi Says:

i agree kimberly. not too exciting. No Nole to pick as a winner. I will go for murray/rafa final then. and er murray winning..wishful thinking but why not.


jane Says:

I made my picks in 2 minutes flat. Just blasted through kamakazi style. Will go down in flames or win with aplomb. Ha. Probably the former knowing my luck, :/.

Thanks, per usual, for the reminder Kimberly. Only one more to go this season. It has been fun, methinks, but some folks have gone awol. Where is contador? And skeeze has been hiding too. Hope Daniel, Blank, dari and all the usuals get there to make some picks.


Kimmi Says:

kamakazi style jane? have to google that. it sounds like a word from swahili, my mother tongue :)


jane Says:

Spelled it wrong Kimmi, lol, oops. Kamikaze is correct. It is actually from Japan, originally: a military term for attacks that could, probably would, end in the demise of the attacker. Pilots would crash into enemy planes and so on, risking their own lives in the doing.

I was using it in a more casual, metaphorical sense, to mean “going down swinging”, blindly, recklessly, boldly, that sort of thing. :)

Do you still speak swahili? If so, you should throw some words our way once and a while, educate us.


carlo Says:

LOL at Nadal talking silly again. What is believable is that his best chance is cleaning up while Djokovic is resting.

No way Nole is giving up his no. 1 ranking for 2011!

I’d rather see Murray win both tournaments and get himself ahead of Federer with Djokovic keeping his #1. But no doubt Nadal has his eye on #1.


dari Says:

Andy was the “atp hot shot” today
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7zt7fBA4Bs&feature=youtube_gdata_player
he is Sooooo fast, that Murray.
Who knew Scots could Sprint like that?!
My desire for Murray to get his first slam and fed to get #17 are about as even as they could get, AO will be soon enough around the corner!


Kimmi Says:

oh, wrong spelling ha ha. I have come across few japanese words that sounds like swahili i feel but the meaning is usually very different.

In swahili “kazi” means work or job, and “kama” could be used as “such as”. so kama kazi would actually be two words. if somebody says kama kazi they could mean “it is like a job or such as a job”. hard to translate to get the correct meaning but close enough.

Yes, i speak swahili. Most of my family members are back in Tanzania and we speak swahili all the time.


jane Says:

Amazing get! Thanks dari.


Kimmi Says:

wooooo thanks dari. Murray always does these great gets. I think it was the Aussie open last year when Brad Gilbert mentioned that andy sometimes practice them ha ha.

That was great get..i could see why ferrer’s will was crushed. what else could he do.


jane Says:

That’s great Kimmi. Now I know two swahili words. :) The study / history of words, & their roots, is so very interesting. Whole “worlds” collide, as they did here.


Kimmi Says:

“My desire for Murray to get his first slam and fed to get #17 are about as even as they could get…”

me too dari. me too.


Kimmi Says:

jane – you probably know more swahili words. I know you have a young boy..maybe you might have watched “The Lion King” the movie.

The movie featured several swahili words like:

Simba – is swahili for “lion”
rafiki – is swahili for “friend”

Another swahili word “hakuna matata” was also used in that movie which means “no troubles or no problems”

OK, back to tennis.


carlo Says:

Shanghai draw looks like another Murray – Nadal final. Murray winning both Tokyo and Shanghai is my wish. Come on, Andy! He could use some luck by maybe Berdych taking out Rafa in Shanhai. (pretty unlikely)


roy Says:

‘Nadal also hasn’t won a title off clay since Tokyo last year’

yes because he’s such a poor hard court player, that’s why. since tokyo only making the tour final then two masters finals and a slam final.
any other player is an outstanding hard court player with those results, but hey.
he’s also a crap grass court player too because he didn’t defend wimbledon this year, just made the final again. that’s like a another non clay event he didn’t defend, how crap is that.


Kimberly Says:

roy, i know, the writers generally don’t give rafa any love here, i’ve gotten past it for the most part.


jane Says:

Kimmi, true. Forgot all about that film.


Brando Says:

@Roy:

Spot on with your assessment. Everyone brings up rafa and his non- defense of a title outside clay, BUT NO ONE mentions the fact that nole has never defended a title outside outdoor hardcourt. Or even murray outside indoor/outdoor hardcourt.

But why should they since this kind of statistic is only mentioned for rafa, everyone else gets a free ride.

I also wonder if they shall mention that IF rafa were to win in Japan he would then on his own have as many single career titles as djokovic and murray put together- when he is only a year older than both? I doubt it.

Just thinking about it, seeing as i mentioned such a stat im sure some shall start praying that murray wins after reading it. :-)


carlo Says:

Nonsense.

Nadal’s trouble wasn’t the court surfaces. I don’t think anyone is disputing Nadal as king of clay and master of all GS venues.

Nadal’s trouble this year was Djokovic.

Nadal fans have plenty for the record books just like Federer fans. It’s nice to have Nole raise the GS trophies and tennis get a new #1.

Sean’s bit about Nadal not winning a title off clay since Tokyo…all that points to is the question why and the answer (mostly) has to do with Nole.

For the moment I want to enjoy the slim hopes I have for Murray winning Beijing.


carlo Says:

oops…Murray is in Tokyo not Beijing!

I’m hoping Cilic can win Beijing


Wog boy Says:

Slim hopes?
Mate, Andy is wining this one. He is better player at the moment.
Go Andy, Go Andrea, Go Ziki-Lodra


Wog boy Says:

I am p…d of , becouse I am not finishing work by the time match starts. I am recording it, but that is not same when you know result. It starts 4pm Sydney time. I’ll get to watch Petkovic-Radwanska, can Andrea brake Polish defence, yes she can:-)))………hopefully


puckbandit Says:

Is there a link for this match? Is it on tv?


Wog boy Says:

As for here, i am watching it on Foxtel sports chanels.


jane Says:

Heya puckbandit, cheers, long time no see. Try here:

http://www.sportlemon.tv/


Daniel Says:

Wow, excellent drop cross volley from Nadal to finish a perfect game. You see he boost his confidence against Murray.

Nadal never defending a title outside of clay is a tabu on his resume as 65 % of tourneys are on Hard courts. He can change that today.


Daniel Says:

Murray already hit the grounds 2 times in 2 games. He is clearly very shaken mentally against Nadal.


jane Says:

That’s what I think Daniel. I think Rafa is in Muzza’s head a bit. That said, Andy often starts slowly.


jane Says:

Now that’s more like it Andy!


grendel Says:

having had about 3 hours sleep, I’m gettting no luck with streaming. I tried Colin’s suggestion, and if you click on live streaming (it shows Nadal-Murray) it just extends the screen to show other links. So Itried jane’s suggestion of fromsport (same as that sportlerman tv), and it just shows an orange screen. Presumably I am doing something wrong. Anyone able to assist me? Meanwhile, I see from live scores a familiar tale…


jane Says:

Ah, should’ve gone down-the-line there Murray, not cross-court.


jane Says:

grendel try the third option on fromsport (there is a list of Nadal Murray’s). I am getting good coverage on the third link.


jane Says:

Murray needs to go down the line more in some of the rallies with Nadal. Sometimes he hits it crosscourt, right back into Rafa’s wheelhouse. That’s playing with fire.

However, great job by Andy to break and then hold after being down love-40. Hope he can hold onto this lead and force a deciding set.


Leon Says:

Grendel, hope you have a stream.
Murray’s finally found his serve and hopefully the groove. Crazy point at 15-0 first game of the decider.


jane Says:

Yeah, Andy is looking really strong a.t.m. Go Muzza, keep it up!


jane Says:

Andy breaks in the third!


Leon Says:

It’s all Murray so far. Three games to hold.


racquet Says:

This is the andy I hoped would show up. Excellent. I almost want him to win here more than Shanghai.


jane Says:

double break!! muzzzza is on fire!


racquet Says:

There’s the double break. He’s outplaying Nadal now. nadal has only won 3 points in the final set.


Leon Says:

Annihilation? Now 2 games, and Murray plays freely.
Yes, racquet, this would be an emphatic win.


jane Says:

bagel wow! congrats to ANDY! 20th title. margot wheeeee. :)

why can’t andy do this in the slams. he can he can.


racquet Says:

Wow! What a final set. A brilliant performance. And poor Nadal gets bageled. I’m very fond of Nadal but I’m overjoyed that Andy got the win.


Wog boy Says:

I CAN NOT HEAR YOU

LOUDER………LOUDER…….LOUDER

THAT IS BETTER

MURRAY……MURRAY…….MURRAY


Leon Says:

The best Murray I have ever seen.
Very heavy loss for Nadal. No hard court accolades, and all that…
Hope you enjoyed the match, grendel. Congratulations.


jane Says:

amazing turn around. the first set rafa tended to be in control, but in the second set murray began to lift, and by the third he was in the zone. not much rafa could do really. rafa couldn’t do much on the return once andy’s serve was firing. shows how key that shot is for andy’s game.


Colin Says:

Grendel, I do hope you managed to watch some of the match. When you click on the “live stream” for the match (on live score hunter), and it extends the screen with a list of links, you then need only go to one of those links. Maybe I should have said this in the first place.


carlo Says:

Wog boy – you called it! Sean too.

What about Shanghai? Andy, Andy, Andy!

that was brilliant.


grendel Says:

well, that was worth losing sleep for – I finally managed to get a stream, Leon. For what it’s worth, I’m going to eat humble pie here – because earlier I had suggested that a Murray win would do nothing to indicate he could win a slam. But the nature of this victory – and I do believe Murray was playing as well as we have ever seen Federer play – suggests this match could prove a turning point.

I missed Murray being broken in the first game, and it was natural to suppose it was the old Nadal in Murray’s head business. But Jason Goodall made the interesting comment that Murray, having played so brilliantly against Ferrer, was having trouble with his own expectations. It seems he was right. The latter half of the first set was really tight, with Murray threatening all the time. Nadal was playing well, though.

The only weakness Murray displayed was mental – and it had nothing to do with Nadal, it was simply failure to maintain focus, and giving away easy shots. In particular that was true after he had just broken Nadal in the second set, and then quickly went 0-40 down. On this occasion, it wasn’t due to Nadal’s legendary fighting qualities, it was Murray taking a breather and congratulating himself for breaking. But didn’t he pull himself together in the nick of time – tremendous rearguard action to hold. I think Nadal was fairly shocked.

An indication of how mental this game is that overhead smash Nadal missed towards the end of the match. Nadal is just about the safest overhead smasher in the game – but when you’re losing, and losing badly, things go wrong, even for the greatest defensive player in the history of the game.

Murray’s return was almost up with Djokovic’s, whilst his serve was excellent. His bh was just out of this world – and very judicious, too. Whilst being consistently aggressive, he didn’t always go for madcap winners. Towards the end the forehand, as if feeling a bit neglected, made a dramatic entrance too.

The question everyone must be asking is: can Murray reproduce this sort of form in a slam semi and then final? It remains to be seen, obviously. But personally, I feel a little more confident now. Being wrong can be good.


margot Says:

Sensational tennis, two days running from Andy! Unbelievable! Could hardly believe the evidence of my own eyes. On wards and upwards Andy. You have the beautiful game to beat anyone.
grendel, it’s Bet 365, always reliable. You have to give credit card details and it’s a small screen but does loads of tennis including challengers.


Michael Says:

Murray will be pooped come Shanghai. He is playing doubles today as well. Unless he is another Superman!!!!!


Kimmi Says:

WOOOOOO! just woke up and i see murray won. with a bagel too. CONGRATS! and very happy.

Murray,please win your first grand slam.


Leon Says:

Happy Judy today. Murrays won doubles, too. First doublet this year.


Kimmi Says:

congrats to murrays and llodra/zimonjic for winning doubles.


Wog boy Says:

Two down, one to go. Go Andrea, it is your turn.

Carlo, as for Shanghai, everything depends on Murray’s body. If that is OK, I don’t see anybody that can beat him, particularly not baking dish collector, VAMOS-TAMOS boy. Pastry shop is up and running in Madrid.
By the way, Cilic choked again, since Goran Ivanisavec became his mentor he messed him up completely.


Patty Says:

Good win for Andy! Sadly I wonder if Nadal’s style of play is finally catching up with him. At 26( going on 30+) it will be hard for him to perhaps win too many more finals or perhaps even get there. Time will tell I guess.Next year should be interesting!!!


dari Says:

Vamos, Andy! Didn’t see the match, hope there is YouTube or something, glad to hear he is playing well. And to fight back from a set down. que bueno
Go team Murray in the dubs!


dari Says:

Oh, that’s done, too what a great day for the Murrays!


grendel Says:

one thing caught my attention. When that baby was crying, on and on, Nadal was interrupted in his service preparations. Eventually a woman, presumably embarrassed, was spotted scurrying off with her baby. Nadal smiled, and that was surprising. generally, in an important match, he allows nothing to get inside his bubble. He proceeded to lose his serve – I’m not saying this is direct cause and effect, but lets put it this way. If there is a grand slam and there are 6 babies roaring their heads off all at once and there are distraught mothers charging all over place, you won’t get a smile out of Nadal. He will simply retreat inside of himself until the commotion is over. Nadal, especially these days, is very much a grand slam man.

Cilic choked? Didn’t watch, but 6-1 in the 3rd sounds fairly conclusive. And Berdych’s summary dismissal of Verdasco in the first round did suggest he was in prime form. Berdych playing at the top of his form is more or less a match for anyone.

More tennis now – I hope Radwanska can hold Petkovic off, won’t be easy.


grendel Says:

Rad breaks to love – the first point was magnificent – and then holds to love with 2 aces and a third brilliant first serve. Obviously won’t keep this up – but rad has clearly made efforts to hustle up her game; Wozniack should take note, it is possible.


Kimmi Says:

now this game is becoming very important for petkovic to hold..she is broken here it might get tough mentally


Kimmi Says:

radwanska breaks. horrible smash by petkovic earlier, a big chance to hold there.


grendel Says:

radwanska double break – but, make no mistake, this is a great, great battle. Petkovic’s defence is proving almost as good as Rad’s and Rad’s attacking game is, well, idiosyncratic, shall we say. It’s very impressive and all her own. She has as many winners as the German, b.t.w. and is credited with no ue’s, which is questionable. I’m really warming to Petkovic who is a great player – I didn’t see this for some reason earlier this year.


Kimmi Says:

OK petkovic breaks right back. she is also realized she needs to take on those second serves. it worked in that game.


Wog boy Says:

Nadal might be GS man but he is not winning them either, as for RG , “thank you Roger for getting Novak off my back”. Nadal always gives 100% and wants to win everything.
Cilic was one set up and next thing he was goner. I believed that man is GS material, but not any more.
Radwanska is two brakes up , not any more, now one brake and it is turning into great match. Andrea broke her back second time, great match.


grendel Says:

yes,Kimmi, if rad wants to win the big ones, she’s got to totsally revamp that 2nd serve. Not beyond her, considering how much she has changed already.

But this match is increasingly looking like the heavyweight grinding down the lightweight – this particular heavyweight has a lot of skill. I rather fear for radwanska.


Kimmi Says:

ah, tennistv has full match on demand of murray ans rafa. will watch it later.


Kimmi Says:

oooops injury! petkovic crying..hopeful she can go back to play.

she is starting to play well too..


grendel Says:

“Nadal always gives 100% and wants to win everything” That is neither true nor possible. Of course Nadal gives 100% insofar as he can – but matches are also about preparations and timing, timing of form. Nadal times for slam finals; he can’t allow for a force of nature like Djokovic….


Wog boy Says:

Andrea is injured, what a shame.


Kimmi Says:

radwanska needs to wake up. adreas break again.. from 4-1 radwanska to 4-4.


Michael Says:

Wog boy. Yr comments r thoroughly shameless and rude. You seem to be obsessed with pastry. Do one!!!


Kimmi Says:

first unforced error??? radwanska hit unforced error when she got broken the second time. I agree with you grendel, who is counting these UE?


Kimmi Says:

radwanska breaks! she manage to stop the bleeding. now serve the first set out..


Wog boy Says:

It is not fair to take anything out off Andy’s victory , that is bottom line. I am resting my case.
Radwanska is terminator. She just doesan’t give up, she is chasing everi ball.


Kimmi Says:

break break and break…aaaargh. c’mon radwanska


Kimberly Says:

Congrats to Murrays nice fans. Glad I missed the match but sounds like it was a stellar performance from Andy.


grendel Says:

I absolutely do not want to take anything off Murray’s victory, which was quite magnificent and, I think, a portent for the future. I was only making an observation.

Rad’s serve reverted to the old flim flam – pity. Some of these rallies are very punishing – Pet gets everything back and never tires. Rad is demonstrably tiring.


Wog boy Says:

Michael, yes I love pastry, come over I will do one for you.
It is better than fish&chips.


Kimmi Says:

wow! killing long points in this match. break again. radwanska get to serve for the set..again


Kimmi Says:

finally radwanska with set point. but can she?


Kimmi Says:

oh dear!


Kimmi Says:

FINALLY! radwanska takes the set.


dari Says:

Really nice to see such a high quality set.
I think i am cheering for Andrea, even though I like both


grendel Says:

Another very long game which Rad somehow squeezes out to take 1st set. At 15-30, second serve (bearing in mind shed only won 1 in 3 sec.serves) it looked like break back time. She served what amounted to a first serve, and got the point. Then, with her first set point, 2nd serve – she served one of those 52 mph Kimberley dollies. Why? Why not take on board the lesson at 15-30? Heavy, heavy nerves must be the answer.

Still absolutely anybody’s match – the winner, the fitter and stronger player, Pet is one of these players who doesn’t look tired, but sometimes her strokes give her away. Or am I talking drivel?


grendel Says:

yes, dari, agreed, very high quality and dramatic, too.


Brando Says:

Congrats to andy and his fans such as margot. Not surprised that andy won, as I said earlier this had 50/50 written all over it. Murray most likely wanted the win and needed it more than rafa. My only surprise was the bagel that rafa received in set 3. Did not watch the match but from what I have rafa needs to sort his serve out asap.


Kimmi Says:

petkovic running away with the second set.


grendel Says:

Ze bagle. Radwanska looked flat at the start of the 3rd, and I do believe she gave her all in clinching the 1st. On the other hand, Petkovic was outstanding. Which of these two factors contributed most will no doubt be seen in the 3rd. It is very hard to see Radwanska coming back, though.


grendel Says:

Brando – Murray looked much the better player on this day. If he can demonstrate this standard of play in a grand slam, then noone will be able to stop him.


grendel Says:

hey ho topsy turvy, Radwanska breaks at start of the 3rd…


Kimmi Says:

radwanska wakes up.if only she can hold


grendel Says:

3rd set: Rad 2 breaks to Pet 1 break. Rad to serve, if she holds – that will be a bit like a break in this context….


Kimmi Says:

break again. who is going to take this?


grendel Says:

Kimmi, did you see that weird point which if rad had won would have given her 40-15? She had the whole court open for an easy put away, she actually waited to see which way Pet was going, and then hit it straight at her, missing b.t.w., ball was out. She was livid and naturally so. So why did she do it? I’m not a player, but I can’t help wondering if its not something verging on the automatic – in those circs, she’s used to hitting in that direction and so on. It was lamentable. really poor game.


Kimmi Says:

i saw that grendel. i cant stop wondering too..radwanska holds! hmm now what!


Brando Says:

@Grendel: that I don’t doubt. Andy is a brilliant player and by the looks of things he played very close to his best in set 2 and 3. Now as a nadal fan- who didn’t watch the match- just looking at the scoreline 6-2, 6-0 in those sets to me it seems clear that rafa needs to work on his serve going forward. If he wants to do well against nole, Murray, whoever else in the future he needs to sort his serve out, IMO, and play inside the line, aggressive tennis. The game is changing, rafa needs to change also. Either way, onto shanghai now and a good tourny there would be a step in the right direction for rafa. Vamos!


Kimmi Says:

wooo break..c’mon radwanska, finish her.


Kimmi Says:

one error after another to give radwanska three match point.

saved one..and big serve give radwanska the championship. big serve..ironic she is the one with more aces in this match

congrats to radwanska. 2 back to back titles. does she get to go to Istanbul now?


Kimmi Says:

she won 9 of her 32 second serves. not a very good stats. hope the coach can see where to concentrate on for radwanska.

But if she can still win with that poor second serve then she is not doing too bad.


grendel Says:

Great tussle to the end, although the standard dropped – hardly matters, though. i was quite hopeless predicting all the way through, just never could tell. With hindsight, it seems that radwanska held her nerve whilst Petkovic noticeably tightened. Not surprising, an inexperienced player gunning for her first “premier”, is that what they call it? Petkovic’s time will come, undoubtedly. Now I hope Radwanska can start to do something about that absurd 2nd serve.


Wog boy Says:

Bravo Radwanska, well deserved win.
Time to go to bed, it is 1.30 am.


Daniel Says:

I saw the first ser of Murral but than fell sleep (3 am in Brazil). When I woke up and saw the scoreline, thought: hum, Nadal mistura injured himself and finished the match as it was a final.
Reading the coments I found out it was all Murray. Wow!!! Hope this is his turning point match.


Little Wing Says:

Brando,

Yes the serve was a major factor again. Rafa had a 1st serve % of 69 but only won 43 % of those. That’s not gonna cut it against a player of Murray’s calibre. Throughout Rafa’s career one of his biggest attributes was his ability to back up his serve which was much weaker than most of the top players and very rarely failed him under pressure. Now this year it’s the first thing to go when he gets tight. It’s not about hitting aces but he needs a 1st serve that can put him ahead in the point but against Djoker this year and Murray today too often he was put on the back foot immediately after serving. Yes Murray and Djokovic are great returners but Rafa’s serve was much more effective last year. Amazingly he won 71 % of his 2nd serves. Credit to Murray for stepping into the court after the return and staying aggressive, he was too consistent and didn’t give Rafa any breathing room.


Brando Says:

@little wing: I think it’s the mental aspect of rafa’s game that for me this year has been his biggest downfall this year. Other than USO 2010 he never served big but rather served well under pressure and won the big points since he kept a cool head. This year as soon as it gets tight, rafa gets nervous and his serve is handed over to his opponent whenever they wish for it. Alot of articles that I just seen in regards to the match all point out that rafa was strangly subdued and lacking in his usual verve and fight in the last 2 sets. However one interprets this match I think it’s clear for everyone to see that rafa has ALOT of work to do in the preseason if he wants to stop collecting runner up trophies.


jamie Says:

Thought of the day:

Federer is done winning slams and Nadal is almost done. Nadal will just win 1 more slam.

Final slam tally:

Federer 16

Nadal 11

Djokovic 9

Murray 3

Del Potro 2

Tomic 1


Daniel Says:

I think the years are catching up Nadal. When you are young and winning everything, staying confidant is easier. When you start having a taste of tuff loses, they stick to your mind and the bad memories come in, even for a mental fortitude of Nadal. This year he had only lost finals to Djoko, now Murray and the courts are getting faster until the year ends, which means, it will always have a hot player the other side of the court in a final too.
At the beginning of this year, his percentages were supreme to none, 43-13 Win-finals (77 perch), now is 46-20 (69,7 perc).
I think things are not getting any better, same with Federer, but he sure will win more Slams and Hard court titles, they will just be harder to get.


jamie Says:

Daniel Says:

Federer, but he sure will win more Slams and Hard court titles, they will just be harder to get.

__________________

Federer is done winning slams.

Hope this helps.

16 will be the final number for Federer.


Brando Says:

@ Daniel: I know your an ardent federer fan, BUT I think I agree with end part of your assessment but for different reasons. I do think rafa shall win more slam- I always thought about 14- and more HC. It will be difficult, but I don’t it’s due to the length of his career catching up. I think it’s just that the competition is getting tougher than ever. What happened today was no big deal I feel. Murray can beat ANY player in a best of 3 sets hardcourt final at his best. So there is no shame in the loss. Let’s just see what happens in shanghai and look forward to it with a logical, rational mind. Andy is on form, defending champion and has just beat rafa. Rafa, on the other hand is playing on his weakest surface.


Little Wing Says:

Brando,

Ever since the serve broke down in IW it has become his crux, maybe he has the serving yips. A lot of people talk about Rafa’s Usopen serve and where it is but I’ve always thought that a big factor that contributed to Rafa serving well at the USopen last year apart from the grip change was that he had already been serving well during the clay season and at Wimbledon. He was always able to find a good serve at crucial moments. Coming into the USopen the grip change was just an extension that brought it all together for him. I’ve often wondered why he doesn’t go back to his old serve and work from there again. Also his service motion this year hasn’t been the same as it was last year from the USopen through to Abu dhabi and even in Australia. One thing I’ve noticed is that his ball toss was a lot higher and straighter and this year he hasn’t been getting it high enough and tends to fall over it which he tends to then net the ball or drop it short in the box. I’m no tennis expert but I wonder if anyone knows anything about serves and ball tosses.

Regarding his body language in the match, it became very negative when he lost his serve in the 2nd set, which was really surprising since he was up a set. Even after he had won the 1st set he didn’t seem to take any confidence from that and I think he became frustrated because he was struggling to get free points off his serve and he must have sensed that Murray was gaining in confidence.

It’s credit to Rafa’s talent that he continues to make finals despite not playing his best but when a champion of Rafa’s pedigree loses 7 finals that has to have an effect on him. He has to stop the bleeding before these losses cause irreversile damage and diminish his aura further.


Michael Says:

@Little Wing. Apparently Rafa’s 2010 US Open serve caused a shoulder Injury which spooked him out. Do u remember him withdrawing from Paris last year with a shoulder injury?


Little Wing Says:

Michael,

Yes I remember that but he was serving well in WTF, not as hard but his motion was still the same. Also in Abu Dhabi and Doha this year he was serving big again.


Brando Says:

@little wing: spot on with your analysis. I agree it is to rafa’s credit that despite the losses he still makes the finals. Another 2 plus points are that I think he has now won more matches than anyone this year and also that he hasn’t had to withdraw out of any tourny due to injury- long may that run continue. I think this off season is vital for rafa. A really good one can make all the difference I feel.


jane Says:

The other key stat to note from Rafa versus Murray is Rafa’s return stats: 21% first serve, 36% second serve, and only 1 of 6 break points converted. Rafa was having a tough time with Murray’s first serve. At the end of the match, Murray’s first serve percentage was 60, or above, which is where he needs it to be, at least. This goes back to that analysis of Andy’s game that I posted last week; If Andy’s first serve is firing his whole game seems to click. And he definitely played a more consistently aggressive brand of tennis throughout the match I thought.


jane Says:

Congrats to the other winners: Berdych, Aggy, Llodra/Zim and the Murray bros,


margot Says:

And..Andy and Jamie take the doubles. What a gr8 day for team Murray! Onwards and upwards.
jane: Andy lost the first set purely because he had one awful service game and in that set his percentage was dire. If that hadn’t happened I think he would’ve done it in two. But am SO pleased, didn’t get down on himself, just upped the anti! Brilliant!
Michael: Andy may well be “pooped” in Shanghai but I’m hoping the adrenaline will keep flowing and carry him through. After all, back to back tournaments, with a rest in between, can’t be worse than playing catch-up in a grand slam, can it? He can be “pooped” in Paris, where he doesn’t do very well, anyway.
Bummer, the challenge window closed b4 I could get in :( So good luck everyone with your picks and see u at the challenge in Paris. Teehee, can still access the site and see how you’re all doing :)


alison hodge Says:

although i love rafa,been a british girl i am also delighted for myself and margot,that muzza won today,hopefully he can go on and build to get that 1st grand slam,im only dissapointed that i missed it as it sounded like he put in a cracking performance by the looks of things,and as for rafa what exactly does have left to proove to people now anyway hes done it all,a career grand slam,a singles gold medal,2 davis cup medals,the no1 ranking twice,you can count on on one hand the number of men to have won more grand slams,@brando thanks for pointing out about rafa having almost as many titles as nole and muzza put together,as i did not know that,and also about nole not defending a title outside hardcourt,or muzza not defending a title inside outside hardcourt,funny how some people only see it as an issue when its rafa,either that or selective memory loss,ok rafa has not defended a title of clay and after today he still hasnt,so what does it really matter that much,when you have won so much more.


Brando Says:

@Alison: no worries, and I completely agree on the further points you make. I too am happy for muzza- he’s a class tennis player. As for shanghai, I have to say I see a Murray v nadal final with Murray winning really. I do not see any reason why he cannot do so now. But I do want to add that it is one which rafa could also win. Rafa’s draw does look pretty tough though, potentially: nalbandian, berdych and fish.


jane Says:

margot, true, and Murray was pushing in the first set too; he was deep into a number of Rafa’s service games. I agree. If he had served well from the get-go he may’ve done it in two. He was a revelation last night, esp in that third set. I was sort of gobsmacked as I don’t know that I have ever seen him play that level, esp against the like of Rafa, a champion who has dominated Murray this year. It was really something to see, and I think it bodes incredibly well for Andy’s furture. BTW, did you notice that the switch from red to black shirts really seemed to help? ;)


alison hodge Says:

thanks brando things are changing in tennis like it or not,1st nole now muzza hopefully can follow in his footsteps with any luck,as for roger and rafa neither have anything left to proove,and certainly nothing to be ashamed of ragardless of what happens next,it just that eventually everything moves on,however thats not say that neither will win a slam ever again as i believe they still will,its just the dominance is over thats all.


Brando Says:

@Alison: Your right in what you say i think alison. In all honesty i cannot see anyone dominating out of the top 4 next year.

What rafa and roger have done- well its there in the history books, and the chapter is pretty full of praise for them.

I can see both of them next year holding out and causing problems for nole and andy.

Im happy for Andy, BUT in all honesty this doesn’t make much difference other than stopping rafa’s consecutive 5 match winning streak on 4 differents surfaces against him.

Other than maybe winning WTF, if murray beats anyone in a final outside slams it really shouldn’t raise any eyebrows.

What Andy needs is to win a slam final, as we know already.

History shows that since AUS open 2005 for 7 straight years one of federer, nadal or djokovic has played in any GS final. I see that stat changing in 2012.

Now i do not think anyone here sees murray winning the FO. What about wimbledon?

Home crowd/ media, winning his 1st slam, best of 5 against anyone of those 3 who have won this title before, the most prized in tennis- again i do not see it happening at all.

Andy’s best bet is the AO or USO- no breaking news there- and in these events Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are a completely different beast to deal with. He’s 5-2 against them here, with both wins against nadal. One was a retirement the other a 2 or 3 day match.


dari Says:

People make a bigger stink about rafa not defending non-clay title because he has plenty of hard court tourneys available to try and knock that stat. Making a note of murray for not defending a non-hard court indoor or outdoor is quite nit-picky, since that covers the vast majority of all tournaments.
It’s a bit more noteworthy with nadal mostly because he has an absolutely tremendous record otherwise and it seems strange for an all-time great like him. almost like luck has to play a bit into that by now, no? Especially with say, Wimbledon and AO, which he didn’t even have a full shot at defending due to withdrawing all together or retiring. Djokovic turned into his kryotonite when it was time to defend USO and now murray plays like a dream in Tokyo?
Sounds like a conspiracy to me
;)


Brando Says:

@Dari: I can see where you are coming from with your arguement. But i have to say that to continously bring it up is getting tiresome and annoying. So nadal hasn’t defended a title on hardcourt? So what. It doesn’t make any difference to his stature in the game, and comes across as a petty, sometimes slight on other occassions more overt, attempt at knocking his place in the game.

I personally think that rafa has never been anywhere near as good as federer, nole or andy in terms of their talent for HC tennis, so he has had to imrpove drastically in order to conmpete on this surface. And then with wimbledon (injury 2009) and nole this year, he has been short on luck.


dari Says:

I think.we talked earlier this week about radwanska making winners in her own way, with limited power, but today she had some big shots on her forehand and more aces than petkovic.
Yes, the slow second has got to go if she wants to make the next step, but can you believe she is still winning tough matches with it?!
I’m sure it is annoying Brando, but bringing up murray’s less-remarkable stat of not defending an indoor or outdoor hard court isn’t a strong counter point. I actually didn’t know that stat until recently, and don’t need to bring it up to try and tarnish nadal legacy (it wouldnt anyway!) But I just had to remark on the weak cut at Murray.
As we all know standards are higher for grand slam champs like nadal and novak could do well with defending some clay title and well murray could do with WINNING A GOSH DARN SLAM. Roger could stop losing when up two sets, yada yada.


jane Says:

Actually Brando, until Nole defended his Dubai title in 2010, his lack of defending a title was mentioned here a number of times. Then he defended Bejing and Dubai again. So he got that behind him somewhat. Maybe Rafa stands out, too, because he has been almost unbeatable on clay for several years, defending again and again; therefore, people want to see if he can do the same on other surfaces too. He has won titles on all surfaces, and at all the slams, so I guess that it comes up in part because of his great resume.


Brando Says:

@Dari: It is frustrating to read, and thst’s why i brought the murray stat up, just to emphasis that if you look for it there always will be a negative stat thst exists for any top player, its just this 1 keeps being mentioned so frequently.

@Jane: I did not know that, and now that you mention it im glad i wasn’t around for it either. Your probably right, the fact that rafa has achieved so much that such a stat sticks out since people have greater expectations. That i don’t mind at all. It’s only when such stats with a negative slant only get brought up with rafa, then it is annoying.


Colin Says:

Jane, I noticed the change of shirt for Andy, but what really seemed to trigger his improvement the most was getting the strapping on his foot changed at the end of the first set. I have half expected a certain person to pop up and say, of course the fresh strapping was soaked in some special substance, absorbed through the skin, which gave him an illegal boost, And anyone who doubted this was naive!
Seriously, when I see Andy playing with this freedom and confidence, I feel that his finally winning a slam would not be a surprise. It would be more surprising if he DIDN’T.


jane Says:

Colin, lol. Funny post. You’re right about the retaping – ti did seem to help Andy. Also it would be more surprising if Andy didn’t win a slam at some point. I hope you are feeling better by the way.

Brando, I understand and empathise. I think it is just bad luck too, as was already mentioned. Rafa might’ve defended Wimbledon in 2009 then he was injured, and then there is the form of other players,etc. The stat doesn’t really matter in the end. Rafa has proven, loudly and clearly, that he is a champ on every surface. He has won several hard court masters, and some of them more than once. He has won both hard court slams and Wimbledon more than once. Enough said, really. :)


jane Says:

Oops typo – “It did seem to help” not “ti did” – wouldn’t want anyone to think “ti” is some new illegal substance that can not be discerned by the drug police. Hee hee.


dari Says:

All is good, Brando :)
Jane, I saw a funny pictures of novak at grocery store with jelena and pierre. They were checking labels- for gluten-free no doubt. I cant find where i saw but if you Google jovake grocery store i thjnk you will find


dari Says:

cell phone typos- of course jovake is novak


Brando Says:

@Jane: Thanks for the comment. :-)

P.S.: It’s off-topic, but i know that you are a film enthusiast. I recently saw ‘Taxi Driver’ and what struck me – aside from it being a brilliant performance by him- was how De Niro in his youth looked alot like djokovic, especially in this film. A shorter, broody, psychopathic version of nole. :-)


jane Says:

Ha! dari just googled and found them. Sheesh Pierre looks rather cozy, :). People are dog-crazy; have seen folks around here pushing pooches in strollers, making them wear shoes and so on. anyhow, link for pics is here…

http://the-slice.com/2011/10/djokovic-and-ristic-grocery-shopping-in-monaco/


jane Says:

Brando, way back in 2007, on this very site, I posted a shot from DeNiro in “Taxi Driver” and Nole to show the resemblance. Especially because in the 2007 USO final DeNiro was sitting in Nole’s box. :)

Love that film: the ending is something else! What a character study too.


dari Says:

ah, Brando,i an glad someone else sees it. I posted that novak and deniro looked alike a while back, I don’t know if anyone agreed. They also have a mole in common.


dari Says:

Ok, its common knowledge then, long lost twins deniro and Djokovic
Pierre livin’ it up!


Brando Says:

@Jane: LOL! Did not know that. Yes it is an amazing film, back when De Niro was actually serious about his craft. Love the films from that era when the actors at the forefront (Pacino, De Niro, Nicholson, Hoffman, Hackman, Beatty, Redford etc) were so due to their talent and ability unlike present day actors who are there one feels more due to their looks and PR team as opposed to their talent :-(

@Dari: likewise. :-)


jane Says:

Hey, does anyone know why Delpo isn’t playing the Asian swing? Just realized he is missing…


jane Says:

Brando, just showed a clip from “Dog Day Afternoon” to students the other day; they could hardly believe it was Pacino. Now they just think of him as an old guy who shouts a lot in films. Lol! :D


Brando Says:

@Dari: Lol, yes even the mole is there for both. From the distant though, nole seems like a fun loving extrovert whilst de niro is famously shy and introvert- at least in public.


Kimberly Says:

don’t know jane, noticed it also when I was picking the draw. Wasn’t aware of any injury. Very small and boring draw. FIsh and Berdych and Tsonga the only seeming spoilers to another Rafa-Murray final.


dari Says:

Not sure what the official word is, Jane, but I am pretty sure he is preserving for d-cup


Brando Says:

@Jane: LOL, i honestly was going to mention pacino in that movie just before you brought it up. Scary!

Im not surprised by the reaction of the kids. Pacino has unfortunately become a self-parody over the last 10-15 years- ranting and raving in almost all films that he is in.

But if the kids could see him in Panic in Needle Park, Godfather 1,2, serpico and Dog Day Afternoon then they shall realise why he is a legend!

P.S: DDA is my favourite pacino performance :-)


grendel Says:

“Even after he had won the 1st set he didn’t seem to take any confidence from that” (Little Wing).

That could be because Murray was somewhat the better player in the first set following that initial break. Nadal will have felt that, of course. I don’t assume. b.t.w. that Murray will beat Nadal in Shanghai – tall order to win 3 in a row, and no disaster if he doesn’t.

“Im happy for Andy, BUT in all honesty this doesn’t make much difference other than stopping rafa’s consecutive 5 match winning streak on 4 differents surfaces against him.

Other than maybe winning WTF, if murray beats anyone in a final outside slams it really shouldn’t raise any eyebrows.

What Andy needs is to win a slam final, as we know already.” (Brando)

This was the line I have taken. Although I still think it’s a respectable line, anyone who actually saw Murray taking Nadal to the cleaners is most certainly going to raise their eyebrows. It was NOT an ordinary defeat. It is bound to give Murray confidence and, furthermore, Nadal, at the very least, severe pause for thought.

It could be precisely the kick start Murray needs to put him in the frame of mind to win a slam. That this might not prove the case, and that Murray may disappoint again goes without saying. But last night’s match was rather special,just because of the nature of Murray’s play – he was toying with Nadal by the end, and I’m not sure that I’ve seen that before except by Federer in the early stages of a match.

It’s no good just willing Murray to win a slam, hoping he’ll somehow get it by default because he’s such an undeniably classy player. That’s fantasy. He has to lay the foundations – and with yesterday’s match, he MAY have done so. Can’t go further than that yet.


Brando Says:

For Nadal, meanwhile, it was a seventh defeat in 10 finals this year, the Spaniard having lost to Novak Djokovic on all six other occasions. “My season has been very good,” he insisted afterwards. “I don’t need to recover my confidence. My confidence is there and only Djokovic is better than me [at the moment]. I will cope with this. I’m happy with what I am doing.”
Nadal added: “Only a few players could have beaten Murray today. I just want to congratulate Andy because I was really impressed by his tennis. He was unstoppable.” TYPICAL rafa-gracious in defeat, honest in his perspective and never feeling over ridden with self pity. VAMOS!!


Wog boy Says:

Just woke up… hangover is not so bad…feel sorry for Andrea, but there is always next time.
It was good day yesterday, Australia sent South Africa home, with a bit of luck, next are Kiwis.
Murray won, Llodra/Ziki won , well you can not ask for more, can you?
Can I budge in….?
When it comes to movies, those were the movies I grew up with, not that Rocky/Rambo/Matrix rubbish. What about Midnight Cowboy, not bad one either. I always loved low budget European ones.I remember UK one, about Beatles, that I have seen while ago, how they started and it was so realistic that I could put myself in that frame.

Jane, when it comes to dogs, my dog died two months ago, it was a Beagle pain in the neck, 8 years old. I couldn’t beleive haw much it hurts. I don’t go in back yard any more becouse he is not coming to give me hard time. It is overgrown, and I don’t care less. My cat that use to go out and to bash him up for no reason, doesn’t want to go out since he died, she changed. Why I am telling you this, becouse if somebody told me that it is how is going to affect me I would say BS, it is only a dog, but it is not it is friend for life.
I need short black and, double shot, and nip of brandy, Serbian way to kick start day. C U later.


jane Says:

Wog Boy, sorry for you loss. :( I do know what you’re talking about, have lost many a pet in my days. I was merely commenting on how some people dress their dogs in clothes and push them in strollers; that has always struck me as a little odd. Anyhow, have a good day.


carlo Says:

I completely forgot that Andy won Shanghai last year. He needs to defend those points. Come on, Andy!

Federer has points he won’t be defending in Shanghai and Nadal has little to lose, I see.

There is still Valencia, Paris, and WTF for Murray. And Federer has Stockholm, Basel, and WTF. ?? not actually remembering what points are where, except that Federer has a load of points to defend.

Running into Federer on one of his good days is still potentially bad news for all of them at WTF. I’ll guess it’s for Murray or Djokovic winning WTF. lol, it’s all heating up nicely.

Very sorry to read about your dog Wog boy. It’s not an easy loss.


Wog boy Says:

Jane, Carlo, thanks a lot.

Jane I know what are you talking about. I consider that weird, too.

Feel ready for another day, another dollar :-(

Go Andy, make it three in row, you can do it.


margot Says:

jane: “Baby Wore Black” and it done him very good :) or perhaps he’s nicked Nole’s confidence pills?
Andy is quietly putting together his best season ever! He always said he would play his best tennis from 24-26 and at the mo. is proving right. He’s also been spot on when reaching his targets, so here’s hoping he’s No3 by year end.
Loved DDA too. Also Serpico. Don’t like Pacino so much these days, he’s made a couple of shockers.


Brando Says:

@margot: if you love those 2 films, I think you shall also enjoy Nicholson in five easy pieces as bobby dupea- every bit as complex a character as Pacino in those two films. Back to tennis now- congratulations on your andy winning, but I hope rafa gets him the next time.:-)


margot Says:

Brando, cheers, will look for it, though I’m not always that keen on Nicholson, magnificent in the cop/gangster film with Di Caprio and Damon though, that rat face, yikes!
re Rafa. No way Hosay! Andy’s got a big deficit to address for starters :)


grendel Says:

margot, I wouldn’t swear on oath, but I recall him saying, round about the time he took 2 sets off Nalbandian at Wimbledon, that he’d reach his peak at 23. At any rate, he always had a kind of Master Plan, as befits a man with a cooly calculating mind. Such a man, b.t.w., above all needs psychological and emotional support. He makes the strategy, nobody else. Where a “coach” would be useful is keeping him on the desired path when things go awry – as inevitably they will, from time to time.

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