Federer v Del Potro For Rotterdam Title; Raonic Returns To San Jose Final
by Sean Randall | February 19th, 2012, 12:15 am
  • 125 Comments

It’s a big time showdown for the Rotterdam title on Sunday as Roger Federer meets Juan Martin Del Potro. But it very nearly didn’t happen.

While Del Potro crushed Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-1, Federer found himself in a dogfight against the renewed Nikolay Davydenko.

In a matchup of 30-year-olds, filled with momentum swings, Federer finally prevailed 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

“Everything started to get better midway through the second set, and that’s very encouraging going into the final tomorrow,” Federer said afterward.

The Swiss was on the brink of defeat late in the third as Davydenko enjoyed three break chances at 0-40 to go up 5-3, but Federer somehow held for 4-4, broke the Russian and then closed it out.

“Even though I was down 0-40, I knew it wasn’t over and that I still had a shot,” Federer said. “I had a winner’s mindset. Sometimes you don’t have those days, but, I believed I could still win and I think that got me over the finish line.”

Meanwhile, Del Potro’s been nothing short of a wrecking ball the last two days losing a total of five games to Viktor Troicki and Berdych. Five!

And that doesn’t auger well for Federer who was making a lot of errors, missing some easy shots today and overall getting pushed around by an inferior Davydenko.

But Federer has won eight of 10 against the big Argentine including a straight set victory in Melbourne last month. That match was closer than the score indicated and Del Potro is clearly playing better now and playing the better tennis of the two. So I give DelPo a very, very good chance here – in fact he’s probably the favorite.

But for some reason I’ll take Federer to pull out the win, somehow. Other than the US Open and London Finals, both going the distance and won by DelPo, Federer has dominated this series and I think he’s got a mental lock on Juan Martin. We’ll see if it happens again tomorrow.

Win or lose, it’s clear now Del Potro’s going to be a force this tennis season, and that’s a great news. Maybe he can shake things up at the top.

In San Jose, another force, a budding one at that, is Milos Raonic who’s back into the San Jose final after a very convincing 7-6, 6-2 win over Ryan Harrison. Watching Raonic today it’s hard not to see him eventually holding up a US Open title in the next 2-3 years. The 21-year-old’s serve is getting better and harder, if that’s possible. He’s already got the poise. And he can really stick those groundstrokes, especially the forehand.

The big IF with Canadian is his health, otherwise I’d be really surprised if he wasn’t Top 10 by the end of the year.

“His serve is obviously one of the best in the game. Indoors, it’s definitely not easier,” said Harrison who saw 20 Raonic aces fly by.

Added Raonic, “In the offseason, I didn’t spend too many days working on the serve. It was more so the return of serve game. And I worked on every aspect, from the baseline to the net. I know when I have time, I try to focus a bit more on the return game and keep improving there.”

Once he establishes more of a return game, might No. 1 be in his future in…late 2014?

Raonic will be the heavy favorite to repeat against either Julien Benneteau or Denis Istomin.

And in South America, Nicolas Almagro will try to successfully defend his Sao Paulo title against Filippo Volandri.

So that’s three players all trying to defend their titles tomorrow – Raonic (SJ), Almagro (SP) and Federer is defending his Rotterdam win from 2005.

Finally, the women’s final in Doha is set and it features the last two Grand Slam champions, World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka and Sam Stosur. Azarenka has won 16 straight matches and all five meetings against Stosur. But the Belarussian did tweak her ankle today in a semifinal win over Radwanska so perhaps some intrigue.

Tennis Channel has live coverage of Federer-Del Potro from Rotterdam at 8am ET and the Raonic San Jose final at 6pm ET. Tape delay of the Doha final will be shown at 10:30am ET.


Also Check Out:
Federer Tries To Join Del Potro, Berdych In Rotterdam SFs; Roddick Tests Ankle In San Jose
Federer Tries To Stop The Rot; Roddick, Raonic Return From Injury In San Jose
Querrey Losing Streak Hits Six in San Jose, Del Potro Wins; Murray Returns in Rotterdam
Soderling Repeats in Rotterdam; Verdasco Bids to do Same in San Jose
Roddick Upset; Scary Del Potro Blasts Berdych in Rotterdam, Awaits Federer?

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125 Comments for Federer v Del Potro For Rotterdam Title; Raonic Returns To San Jose Final

Miss Sydney Says:

Dep Potro you’ve got this one! Great to see him back & firing….


Stella Says:

Come on Roger!!!


jane Says:

Looks like Raonic will meet Istomin. It’ll be interesting, hard to predict.


Wog boy Says:

Jane, i just watched Istomin, no disrespect for Istomin, but Milos in two sets, easy.


jane Says:

I hope you’re right Wog Boy; I would love to see Milos defend his first title so soon, and maybe it’ll give him a boost for the bigger Masters events coming soon.


Wog boy Says:

OK, watched del Potro v Berdych. Powerful game by Delpo, Serve..BH…FH, everything, but Berdych was playing in to his hands. Federer can mix it up for a change, can think for a change, I am still giving advantage to Federer, just.We’ll see?


JT Says:

I have to say I’m with Wog boy on this one.


Dave Says:

It is a miracle that Federer even reached the final despite the big disadvantage of playing Davis Cup last week. Federer is the only Rotterdam quarterfinalist who practiced and played on clay court (even worse, an uneven, bad-bouncing, higher altitude clay court) for at least 8 days last week. Switching from outdoor plexicushion hardcourt to bad-bouncing, higher altitude clay to indoor decoturf hardcourt is bound to play havoc with a player’s rhythm and consistency — and it showed in Federer’s play throughout Rotterdam. Federer basically had to play himself into form against a hot Davydenko — who has beaten Nadal 6-2 since 2008 Miami (6-0 on hardcourts) — as the match progressed.

As for Delpo, his good form is understandable. Delpo is more prepared for Rotterdam than Federer or Berdych are. Of the Rotterdam quarterfinalists, only Del Potro (and Richard Gasquet) did not waste their time and rhythm/form playing Davis Cup (see link). So Delpo was able to spend an extra 7 to 10 days practising on indoor hardcourts to prepare specifically for Rotterdam… while Federer idiotically wasted his time playng bad bounding, high altitude clay court tennis. That’s a big advantage that Delpo is taking into the match.
http://www.buenosairesherald.com/article/91729/del-potro-and-dulko-we-can-do-without


Kimmi Says:

were are the fed supporters? lets go fed!

that was a tough first game to hold. first serves are not clicking yet but manage to get them at the end


Polo Says:

I am here but I my eyes are glued on the match. Looks very interesting. Federer looks like he is continuing with the form he showed during the last set of his match agains Davydenko.


Kimmi Says:

break, go fed!


Polo Says:

So far so good.


Kimmi Says:

excellent start from fed. Lets keep it up fed


Polo Says:

So far so much better.


Kimmi Says:

delpo is rattled. too much variety from fed. delpo serve is not firing yet.

second break.


jane Says:

Okay 5:30 am – didn’t wake up for a rout so am going back to sleep. I knew Fed had the edge with the 8-2 H2H and straight setter at AO; clearly he has Delpo’s number. And Delpo’s form doesn’t look so great but I didn’t see the Berdych match… Zzzzz back to sleep for me. Enjoy the bagels or breadsticks Kimmi and Polo. Munch munch munch :)


Polo Says:

It’s 8:30 AM from where I am. I have just downed 3 cups of coffee and I have more in the pot. I will be OK. I don’t think this will take too long, Jane.


Kimmi Says:

hmm, i dont believe this good start, too good to be true


Kimmi Says:

Jane, enjoy the rest of sleep, fed is g-o-o-d at the mo. But I have learn not to get too ahead. one point at a time.


Kimmi Says:

tough game to hold but he holds. delpo is starting to pick it up. Not too many shanks today frm fed but delpo is not davy (play station) at full flow.

Second set, lets go!


Leon Says:

Well, we have seen many times before how delusive could be the first set of Roger – but that was beautiful, no?


Kimmi Says:

fed waiting for delpo to commit to one side and mess it up..


Polo Says:

Kimmi, I usually share the same feeling when Federer wins an easy set before and then struggles the rest of the way. But not this time. I feel confident that he will keep his form to the end. But then, of course, I am not a psychic.


Kimmi Says:

Polo, delpo is starting to settle now. big ground stroke. winners are starting to be more regular.

Dont be a psychic please, we have enough of them here.


Polo Says:

I will just shut up. It might be better that way.


Kimmi Says:

the slice works again polo.
fed with an early break. go go go!


dari Says:

Good morning, guys!

I suppose I am happy about the score but I love delpo, too, so I was hoping for more. Geeze, he just set delpo up with that slice. Was that a little mis- hit or short on purpose? Oh well, roger has the break!


Kimmi Says:

ooops missing easy fh, c’mon


Kimmi Says:

so tense, c’mon fed HOLD this


Kimmi Says:

PHEW! delpo was sooo there. Crucial game to hold for fed.


Kimmi Says:

federer games are too tense now. he knows he needs to HOLD. aaargh!


Kimmi Says:

oh men, federer is just lucky. C’mon HOLD now


Kimmi Says:

no forst serve, nervous game again..c’mon fed


Kimmi Says:

3 mp gone..getting nervous now


Polo Says:

Kimmi, I have become a psychic!


Kimmi Says:

Phew! that big FH, and easy finish volley. GAME SET MATCH.

Congrats fed. well done

I am surprise delpo did not break in this match.


Leon Says:

A little gem from Federer.
Order confirmed
(Can’t help remembering that criminal offence committed by him at USO-09!).


dari Says:

Yay! Roger “defends” his title!

Good signs for delpo, though, he had a great week!


El Flaco Says:

Kimmi Says:

I am surprise delpo did not break in this match.

February 19th, 2012 at 9:41 am
————————————————–

Me too Kimmi. Fed only served 50% for the match so Delpo should have been able to get a few breaks. He was 0-7. I also thought Delpo did a pretty good job of returning Fed’s 1st serve which makes it even more surprising he couldn’t break.


Michael Says:

Congratulations to Roger on his 71st title. At his age, he is still proving a very hard nut to crack for the current young crop of players. I had my own doubts after the splendid show by Del Potro against Berdych and the not-so-good performance by Roger against Davydenko. But he has proved me wrong and I like to be on the wrong side when it comes to Roger. Actually, I wanted Del Potro to win considering that Roger has already proven himself to the Tennis World about his greatness and another Rotterdam title is not going to make any difference except that he will have 71 instead of 70. Whereas a win for Del Potro would have given him added confidence that he can compete with the tough quarret. It is not to be and Roger has got his first title for the year which is wonderful and he is started this year with a bang. Let us wish him all the best in his future tournaments.


Stella Says:

Sorry Delpo but Roger took it to you.
Good man Roger!!!


Brando Says:

Congrats To roger and his fans! Is he on a 20 match unbeaten indoor streak now with this win? He’s still the best indoors, just behind 2 others outdoors. Not bad for a 30 year old player who has been there, done it all and just having fun now.


Brando Says:

P.S: congrats also to delpo. He should be firmly inside the top 8 by RG, so he should be protected from the top 4 until qtrs from then on. I reckon he could complete his comeback trail with a big performance there. He’s definately the dark horse for this year!


Skeezerweezer Says:

Ok have to say it with the anti fed propoganda goin around as of late. To those that don’t like Fed he just made the wound deeper. ATP 500 title over a quality opponet at 30, the records STILL don’t stop and the ladder has just added another ring for others to get to. Congrats Fed! Delpo, look forward to you climbing the ladder faster this year! Stay healhy and great run!


alison hodge Says:

just come home from work,so ive only just heard about the result,and just wanted to say,congrats to skeezer,madmax,swiss maestro etc,and all the fed fans,rogers amazing and continues to set the bar high at the age of 30 is just brilliant,delpos on the right track with much to be proud of,also wishing him the best of luck for the rest of the year,well done guys.


Andrea Says:

Yay roger….if only they would turn the French open into an indoor event….maybe u could crack nadal there.

Anyway…good work.


jamie Says:

Reality check:

There are no slams indoors.

Otherwise Olderer would retire with 30 slams instead of just 16 slams.


Dave Says:

Delpo, despite his loss, played quite well for much of the match but was overwhelmed by Federer’s quality, power, variety and finesse, even Fed’s ground game. Federer won 57% of the points despite having a bad serving day (only 49% first serve). The way Fed played, he would have probably beaten almost every other top 10 player.

It’s amazing that Federer managed to win this tournament despite the disadvantages of having his rhythm disrupted last week from playing at higher altitude on bad-bouncing clay for over 8 days; having only 14 hours to recover from a tough three setter against another fast-playing, hug the baseline former top 3 player; having the distractions of being the president of the ATP players’ council and of being a father; being 30.5 years old and past his physical prime; still using the smallest head racquet and relatively old racquet technology; and being prematurely written off by critics as fodder for power players like Delpo, Tsonga, Berdych, Soderling, etc, etc (as if only Fed is never allowed to lose some matches to other players).

Cumulative ATP ranking points since after 2011 US Open (including non-countable tournaments):
- Federer: 4,310 points plus 25 Davis Cup points
- Murray: 2,900 points
- Djokovic: 2,560 points
- Nadal: 1,880 points plus 320 points Davis Cup

If Federer can maintain his momentum between Dubai and US Open, he can challenge for No. 1 by the end of the US Open or even sooner. Hopefully Federer — despite his conflicting and greater priorities compared to other younger top players with less conflicts — does not squander this good form and gets back to the practice courts by Tuesday. He needs to prepare for Dubai’s outdoor slower hardcourts, where Djokovic, Murray, Delpo, Tsonga, Berdych, Fish and Tipsarevic are playing (8 of the top 10). Last year Fed looked undercooked at Dubai. For two consecutive years, Fed seems to have wasted the good form and momentum he had over the other top players at the end of the 2010/2011 World Tour Finals.

This Fed’s 71st career title from 101 finals on all surfaces.
- Fed needs 6 more titles to tie McEnroe for third most titles in ATP history. Fed has won an ATP singles title for 12 consecutive seasons, tied with Becker and Edberg (only Connors did it for 13 consecutive years and only Lendl for 14 years). Roddick will join Fed on 12 years if he wins a title this year.
- Federer passes Borg for fourth best career indoor winning percentage (81.0%) — Borg by age 25 played and won about as many indoor matches as Fed has by age 30.
http://www.atpworldtour.com/Reliability-Zone/Reliability-Indoor-Career-List.aspx
- Fed has also improved his career hardcourt winning percentage (83.0%), which is the best in ATP history ahead of Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors, Rod Laver, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras. He also has won the most career hardcourt titles (49) ahead of Agassi, Connors, Sampras, Edberg, McEnroe.
http://www.atpworldtour.com/Reliability-Zone/Reliability-Hard-Career-List.aspx
- Fed is on a 24 match indoor streak since 2010 WTF. It could have been a 38-match streak since 2010 Stockholm but he squandered 5 matchpoints in 2010 Paris SF.

Excellent progress by Delpo — he should be No. 9 in tomorrow’s rankings. The (presumed) continuing return to form of Davydenko and Del Potro as well as rise of Raonic is a concern most to Nadal. Davydenko, for example, has a 6-2 winning record over Nadal since 2008 Miami, including their last four meetings.


alison hodge Says:

sorry in my above post i forgot to mention ajet aswell,who ranks up there with the others i mentioned as one of my favourite fed fans congrats.


Polo Says:

Roger’s victory over Del Potro makes me even sadder remembering his loss to him at the US Open in 2009. Roger, more often than not, beats him rather easily and this is another one of them. Makes me really feel bad all over again about the USO loss.


jamie Says:

Dave:

Federer will not win another slam. He will never be #1 again. Hope this helps.


malher Says:

@ jamie – he dont need to win another slam – already got 16 !!!!!!!

It will always be awsome to watch him though – true GOAT!!!


jamie Says:

Next 7 slam winners, predictions based on the psychic’s forecast for 2012/2013.

———————-

2012

FO: Nadal
Wimbledon: Murray
USO: Djokovic

———————-

2013

AO: Murray
FO: Djokovic
Wimbledon: Djokovic
USO: Del Potro

———————-


Dave Says:

jamie: You are not Nostradamus, not a seer or a prophet. You certainly can’t predict the future of someone as exceptional and accomplished as Federer. Hope this helps.

Polo: Respected tennis correspondent Tom Tebbutt analysed that: “It appears more and more obvious that Roger Federer’s troublesome back was at least a partial explanation for his late-match fade in the U.S. Open final against Juan Martin del Potro.” Fed was just two points from winning that 2009 US Open final. Had he won that match, he might have won four consecutive slams between 2009 French Open to 2010 Australian Open.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/blogs/match-tough/federers-back-needs-a-break/article1301682/

There should be an official indoor grand slam championship given that lawn tennis evolved from indoor tennis and that there were more indoor tennis events in the 1970s and 1980s (as well as for the touring pros during the closed era before 1968). Bjorn Borg, for example, won 23 indoor titles by age 25. Connors won 52 indoor titles, McEnroe won 51, Lendl 41, Becker 30, Sampras 23. The top players had to play on more court conditions, no excuses.

The World Tour Finals is considered a sub-slam by some (e.g., Peter Bodo) and equivalent to a slam by others (e.g., Federer since at least 2005). In the 1970s, the year end championships were considered more important than slams such as the Australian Open and for a few years even the French Open. Given the historical importance of indoor tennis, Federer’s 6 WTF championships really give him 22 major titles to Djokovic’s 6 and Nadal’s 10.


alison hodge Says:

malher great post,fed needs nothing to cement his already completed legacy,jamies posts smack of jealousy and desperation,he can type fed wont win another slam,till his typing fingers bleed or fall off,or till hes blue in the face it wont change anything,hes a nole fan who dont get me wrong is the worlds best player atm,but is still a million miles away from the sucess that roger has achieved,but sounds rather bitter imo,otherwise why keep on mentioning it all the time.


Polo Says:

Dave, I always considered that USO match the one that got away.


jamie Says:

These predictions are according to the psychic(a woman). Not me.

Federer has won 16 slams. World Tour Finals are NOT slams. They are not even “best of 5 sets” anymore….

—————

Most Slam singles titles (all-time)

Titles Players

16: Roger Federer

14: Pete Sampras

12: Roy Emerson

11: Rod Laver, Björn Borg

10: Bill Tilden, Rafael Nadal

8: Fred Perry, Ken Rosewall, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Andre Agassi

7: Richard Sears, William Renshaw, René Lacoste, Henri Cochet, William Larned, John Newcombe, John McEnroe, Mats Wilander

6: Laurie Doherty, Tony Wilding, Jack Crawford, Don Budge, Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker

5: Frank Sedgman, Tony Trabert, Novak Djokovic


carlo Says:

What happened to del Potro? I couldn’t watch the match but the score is surprising after how well Delpo played yesterday. I’m with Sean Randell about Delpo having a mental block vs Federer.

Well, congrats to Federer.

Vamos Delpo, and good luck in Marseille!


jane Says:

Congrats to you guys – just, finally, woke back up and saw the photo at the ATP site. Delpo does not look happy with that little bowl he’s holding, lol, and the bowl looks even smaller because he’s so big, ha ha ha. Meanwhile Fed’s grinning ear-to-ear, like the cat that just swallowed the canary. Funny photo.


Kimmi Says:

azarenka wins third tournament in a row. 17-0 in a season.


Dave Says:

Polo: “Dave, I always considered that USO match the one that got away.”
Yeah, true. However, like every other great player, Fed has probably won some that got away from others… as well as lost some that got away from him. So it balances out in the long term.

jamie: “These predictions are according to the psychic(a woman). Not me.”
I maintain a registry on competent psychics. Give me her full name and address, and I’ll check whether or not she’s a quack and whether her predictions have any hope of coming true.

jamie: “World Tour Finals are NOT slams. They are not even “best of 5 sets” anymore…”
Here is a tennis reporter telling Federer: “I think the World Tour Finals equals a Grand Slam as a major title event.” Regardless, the WTF is a blue-chip field of the very best players and the pressure of the season-ending event. Most grand slams are won playing a much weaker field of players. Fed won 4 of his 6 WTFs playing best of 5 set finals.
http://www.asapsports.com/show_interview.php?id=76253

Some of the old timers on your all time slam list also won pro slams during the closed era: e.g., Ken Rosewall won a record 15 pro slams between age 22 to 34 (when he couldn’t compete for grand slam events open only to amateurs)I estimate that each pro slam is worth about 50 to 60% of a grand slam, based on the lesser number of rounds in a pro slam. If tennis was open during the 950s and 1960s, I estimate Ken Rosewall probably would have won about 16 to 17 grand slam titles, and Laver about 15. Rosewall has a winning record over Laver and Pancho Gonzales in the pro slams.


carlo Says:

jane, I just saw that photo of sad Delpo with the small bowl and my heart sank for him because I don’t want him owned by Federer, Nadal, etc. Hated, yes, hated the picture of him crying on Nadal’s shoulder after losing to Nadal in 5 sets -Davis Cup.

And if you go into the photos for Rotterdam tournament there is a picture of Delpo and Fed with their bowls showing Delpo with an expression of what I’d call evidence of his Fedfan credentials :/

imo, Delpo must get over it! He needs to take it to the top 4 like he did US Open 2009. Vamos!


jane Says:

True carlo, Delpo doesn’t have good records against the top four:

Fed: 2-9
Nadal: 3-7
Murray: 1-5
Nole: 1-4

Out of 25 matches, he’s won only 7. I know what he’s capable of, you know what he’s capable of, and all of these top guys know it too. Maybe they just raise their games against him. But he doesn’t seem to bring his best versus Fed. Seriously, most of their matches fall flat, other than than USO final, but Delpo was moving better then. Fed still moves extremely well. Maybe this result is somewhat surface related too as Fed’s done his best on indoor courts lately.


alison hodge Says:

carlo rafa said that he believes delpo will get back into the top 5 again this year.


carlo Says:

On happier note, I’m believing Lendl is going to make a difference with Murray getting rid of any excess mancrush for Nole and Rafa. Not worried where about Andy v Rog for some reason; pretty confident about Andy taking it him next time they meet in a GS.

I recorded delpo v fed and will watch later today. But that AO quarterfinal was a disappointment. And looking at the score, it’s just odd to me, even adjusting for a mental block – that 1st set, especially how he was bossing Berdych! Delpo needs to CRUSH Federer, not tip-toe around him :D sorry, lol…


Jeanius Says:

Dave is really a hardcore Fedfan.Appreciate his statistical approach. Vamos Dave, no


carlo Says:

alison, you are very sweet. :)

But I say, Delpo beware of the Humble Bull’s charm!

They are professionals, as you have reminded. But it’s hard not to imagine del Potro not being vulnerable to being a bit drawn in by things Rafa or Roger might say. Roger has also been very complimentary, genuinely so, in what he says about Juan Martin. I hope his coach helps him put those things in perspective. ( i was already counting Delpo’s points for winning Rotterdam last night!! hahaha)


carlo Says:

jane, thanks for those numbers. He has some work to do. He belongs up there with them – you could see it again the way he beat Berdych. But Berdych isn’t Rafa or Nole!

Federer, dare I say it, is the one I view as beatable by del Potro. But, alas, *sigh*, was wrong again.


Polo Says:

jane says: “…True carlo, Delpo doesn’t have good records against the top four…”

But wouldn’t you think that of all the rest, Delpo is the one closest to the big four?


alison hodge Says:

thanks carlo roger,rafa and nole have all been complimentary about delpo,and i do think they are all been sincere too,but thats me i try to look for the good in anybody,easy for those to be so nice about everyone else when things are going so well for them,and especially with the amount of sucess that they have had over the years,without sounding synical.


alison hodge Says:

carlo rafa on the other hand could identify with delpo,knowing exactly what hes been going through,suffering from a long term career threatening injury, that came about when things looked to be going so well,in 2009 when rafa lost early at rg,could not defend the wimby title he won in 2008 due to tendonitis,and many people doubted he would ever win another slam ever again,and worse still that his career was all but over,but has since come back and won another 4 grand slams,however i digress delpo could use rafa as insperation as he knows exactly how it feels to reach rock bottom,and have to fight to save his career.


jane Says:

Polo,

Tsgona:

Nadal: 3-6
Nole: 5-4
Muzz: 1-5
Fed: 3-8

He has 12 wins in 23 tries. That beats Delpo’s 7 in 25.


dari Says:

alison, i dont think its a fair comparison between delpo and rafa. JM had surgery and didnt play for like 9-10 months. There isn’t a comparable story out there right now, especially considering he’s back in the top ten now.

I wish JMdP all the best, and wherever he needs to get his inspiration, more power to him. Even more respect for him if he gets back to winning slams through his own, unique path

I have enjoyed rafa and novak show over the past several months, but I don’t wanna see it all year. JM, andyM or roger need to come through in the slams this year!

Congrats to nico on title in brazil. This guy has been steady this time of year in south america.

Ps, where is janko?


Kimberly Says:

I would say Tsonga and Berdych most dangerous to top 4 in that they actually believe they can beat them.


jane Says:

Kimberly,

I thought of Berdych too, but his numbers versus the top three are not that great (4-10 Fed; 3-11 Rafa; and 1-8 Nole). Berdych was a headcase for so long and accumulated so many loses over that time period; he has gotten better in some ways, but his numbers are bad versus Fed, Nadal and Nole (8 wins in 29 tries!).

He does have a 3-1 winning record over Murray though.


alison hodge Says:

dari yeah i see where your coming from,but rafa was at one point also fighting to save his career,is what i meant,even though rafa was not injured for as long as delpo,and i could not agree more,as much as i love rafa and nole,i dont want the slams been dominated by just them,its competition that makes tennis interesting not domination,i would be delighted for the slams to be shared out 4 ways with delpo and muzza,getting in the mix somewhere.


carlo Says:

That’s a good point, alison. Rafa does strike me as the empathetic type, to a degree. Rafa on a tennis court though isn’t at all empathetic! I may not be a fan of watching him vamos’ing on every single point won but if that’s what it takes to have the killer mode switch on, then more power to him. He certainly demonstrates no hesitation taking down anyone.

There was an interview last fall in which Djokovic described how he got over the mental block and losing to Rafa and Roger in GS situations. It was interesting to hear him say it the way he did and confirm what was suspected. If you watch US Open 2009 semi-final v Federer, alison, you can almost see Djokovic give up after the crowd was dazzled by Federer’s hot shots. I thought Djokovic should have won that match. The following year in the same situation, Djokovic didn’t give up. Like Djokovic at 2008 AO, del Potro got an early career GS win over Federer, then there was a lag before he stepped up again. I hope Delpo can beat Federer the next time they meet in a GS – his career could use the boost. I expect him to have a tough time with Nole and Muzz but del Potro played well against Rafa over 5 sets in Seville on slow clay and maybe, just maybe, he can beat Rafa if he has to again at US Open. That’s my hopes for Delpo, alison. He can get there – physically he’s strong again and mentally tough against most everyone – it’s those top 4 he has to beat though.


jane Says:

I was thinking maybe clay is it for Delpo? He has had great matches versus 3 of the 4 top four on clay: 2009 FO semi versus Fed went to 5 sets; 2011 FO match versus Nole 4 sets (but bifurcated due to poor scheduling); and then 2011 DC tie versus Rafa. He also played Rafa closely on grass last year. So he has the goods, no doubt about it. Maybe it is a lag, carlo, and it’s just a matter of building that confidence and killer instinct.


carlo Says:

alison, I’m as wishy washy a tennis fan as you could ever meet. I jump on bandwagons, jump off, jump on another…

Most of the time, I’m with you: love to see someone different win each slam in a year. But I also appreciate the performance when one player dominates in the prime of his life like Djokovic did last year. His achievement was made even more incredible to see how he broke the spell that Rafa and Roger had held on tennis and reach #1 :)


alison hodge Says:

thanks carlo delpo is too good a player not to trouble the top 4 and win another grand slam,i must admit i have had my doubts,but like muzza im more convinced he will bag another slam again this year.


alison hodge Says:

i agree i suppose rafa and especially roger have dominated for so long,roger has nothing left to prove and rafa very little,i suppose its not as big an issue,although the die hards will always be delighted with every title that they win,the rest see it as no big deal,so its great for someone else to have there turn at dominating,for a while anyway,ya never know delpo and muzza could be the next ones to dominate.


carlo Says:

alison – on one hand, I’ve been adverse to calling this time, as some have, a ‘Golden Era or Age’ in tennis; but OTOH, it might become that. If Djokovic wins the Djoker slam by winning FO, then someone new wins Wimbledon, followed by a new GS winner crowned at US Open, I’m going to feel very ‘Golden’ about the year!

But that’s not to say, the year won’t also feel pretty spectacular if Djokovic wins a Calendar Slam or someone else dominates the rest of the year (and the only other player I can see doing that would be Rafa). I’m obviously confused again, lol…

Go Milos! There’s another one I want to do well, alison :) and Nishikori is in Buenos Aires…go Kei!


alison hodge Says:

sorry last post was for carlo.


alison hodge Says:

carlo yeah agree on all counts,whatever will be will be,bring it on,one way or another it will be a cracking year.


alison hodge Says:

carlo as a british gal i will be absolutely over the moon if muzza wins wimbledon this year,i can just imagine our tabloid press will have a field day,go muzza.


carlo Says:

Jane – I get caught up in wanting Andy Murray to get a GS, that is my #1 mind meld ;)

#2 is Delpo getting back up to speed and dishing it to the top players. I does appear Delpo has lost some fire for beating Federer and hope he can get it back. On clay? I don’t know, really. Delpo was pretty good in 2009. Maybe the surface doesn’t matter as much as wind and heat? Delpo tosses the ball so high, have you noticed?


carlo Says:

Haha…I’m not a British gal and I’ll be “over the moon” too, alison :D


dari Says:

Jane, I also was thinking about RG as a chance for delpo. If the balls are fast again this year, there is a chance he can stay out of the long drawn out points that he may not have the endurance for.
And with his power, he can hit through the resistance if the clay.
If novak stays in same form, delpo keeps up, there should be some challenges for king of clay this year
Should i add roger to the list if he can play like he did the first 7 games of the 2011 final?!


jane Says:

dari, add to what you say the fact that Delpo is now back up in the top ten and thus he doesn’t have to face a top four guy in the R16 again as well, and Juan could definitely be a factor at Roland Garros.

carlo, yes, I’d be thrilled for Murray, and wow, especially if he wins Wimbledon. Lendl would be jealous. ;) It’s the one he couldn’t get.


Humble Rafa Says:

Thrilling fans by beating mostly midgets and one tall Elf. LOL


carlo Says:

Hm, it’s an interesting dynamic isn’t it, jane. There’s a lot going on in that relationship. I wonder if it would be jealousy or more like a deep satisfaction??


Humble Rafa Says:

roger has nothing left to prove and rafa very little,

I have LOTS to prove. Just to add to the British tennis discussion, may I remind you that I am only a year older than Mr. Lady Forehand. All Mr. LF has accomplished is a “choking Slam” 3 times (choking in all 4 slams in same year). This year he get an opportunity to get a Golden Choking Slam, which has never been achieved before.


carlo Says:

LOL… Humble on a roll.


Eric Says:

Jane,

You’ve forgotten to count the wins into the total number of matches for your comparisons, I think. So Tsonga is not 12 wins out of 23 matches, but 12 wins to 23 losses (or 12 wins out of 35 matches).

If Berdy has 8 wins to 29 losses (or 8 wins in 37 matches) against Roger, Rafa and Nole, that’s essentially the same as Delpo’s record of 7 out of 32. And if you add in his 3-1 record over Andy, it’s significantly better (although Tsonga’s is more impressive still, as you pointed out).

So Tsonga at 12-35 has the best record with 34%. But surprisingly, next up (of the tiny few I checked — obviously, percentage-wise someone who happens to be 1-0 against Novak from some match in 2007 might have the best % against the top 4, but we’re only interested in people who have actually racked up a lot of matches against them) are David Ferrer and Andy Roddick – in spite of his 0-12 mark against Roger and 4-13 against Rafa, Ferrer has won 26% of his matches against the top 4 because is basically 50-50 against Novak and Andy. Roddick’s story is similar – he is a surprisingly robust 38% until you add in his 2-21 record against Roger. Then it plunges to 26%. Then come Delpo and Berdych a touch under 22%. It would be interesting to check other players too but this is rather time-consuming…


Eric Says:

(Hopefully my math checks out! I’m shocked that Roddick is so high.)


Eric Says:

(Just for fun, Gasquet is 5 wins, 17 losses against Roger, Andy, and Nole, but 0-10 against Rafa. So 22%, or comparable to Delpo and Berdych, against the first 3, but a measly 16% against the top 4 overall. Gilles Simon is at 20%, largely because of his 2-2 record against Roger…)


jane Says:

Thanks Eric: of course that makes sense – I was doing more of a H2H or Wins -to-Losses kind of thing. I thought about checking Ferrer, but was getting bored of it, LOL. Anyhow, interesting stats to note for sure. I knew Delpo wasn’t the “closest” in terms of those numbers, but certainly right now he is likely more of a threat than Roddick and Ferrer in general, but perhaps not as much of a threats as Tsonga overall?? Not sure. The numbers never tell all, though they are certainly interesting to consider in the grand scheme of things.

On another note – woot Milos took the first set.


Eric Says:

Second fun fact, Gasquet is not only 0-10 against Rafa, but has only ever won four sets against him, and two of those were in tiebreakers, and none of them were in the past five matches (Rafa has now won 14 sets in a row against Gasquet, most of them 6-0, 6-1, or 6-2. Sheesh.).


Eric Says:

“The numbers never tell all, though they are certainly interesting to consider in the grand scheme of things.”

Yes, exactly. The general feeling seems to be that Delpo is on a different level from Tsonga and Berdych, but I would say that the latter two are more likely to be dangerous on any given day. JMDP hasn’t really proven he deserves all the hype yet, in my opinion.


jane Says:

Delpo is a conundrum: on one hand, you could say he deserves the hype as he has won a slam and he beat Nadal and Fed along the way. But on the other hand, he has never won a Masters, and since his injury, or even since that slam win, he has never reached that same level and overall he hasn’t done much damage in his H2H with the top guys. So he’s tough to judge. Can he crack through the top four? Can Tsonga? Anyone?


jane Says:

Congrats to Milos on defending his first title.


Wog boy Says:

Milos in two :)

Congrats to Milos !


jane Says:

Yep, you called it Wog Boy. :)


Eric Says:

Weird: all of Raonic’s matches this tournament had were 76 62 or vice versa (except against Kevin Anderson, 75 76).


Eric Says:

Ignore that “had”…


carlo Says:

The numbers don’t tell the story where del Potro is concerned,(my biased opinion, of course). He is 23 but spent a year out injured and a year working his way back.

Tsonga and Berdych are older and have had ample chances at a GS but couldn’t take it from Nadal and Federer. The masters titles are great but del Potro showed more drive and mental strength, at least in 2009.

All my defense of delpo aside, I have now watched Rotterdam final and don’t feel so great about him v Federer – too much respect there is what it felt like.

Blinding bright star Milos! Congrats! and loved Denis Istomin’s performances in San Jose.


Polo Says:

I think Berdych and Tsonga (same with Ferrer)have already reached as far as they can go. del Potro still carries great potential for improvement but today’s game against Federer was a step back. Gasquet should not even enter the equation. The big four will probably remain almost untouchable in the next two years. Every now and then, somebody may intrude that circle but I see hardly anyone who can get through all four in a tournament where they all play.


Kimberly Says:

I honestly think del potro movement and endurance a big problem. I can’t see him ever beating Murray and I don’t believe he ever has. The surfaces have slowed such that a good counter puncher will outlast him. Like ferrer at Davis cup although that is more of an extreme example as the surface was sooooooo slow.


Eric Says:

Carlo, I agree that JMDP is still a future player, but Tsonga might be too. He’s not that old. I guess it’s a different kind of future; it would be hard to imagine Tsonga hitting no. 1, but Delpo (people agree) should.

“He is 23 but spent a year out injured and a year working his way back.” Yes, and I imagine he’ll have a much better 2012 than 2011, but at some point we have to stop making excuses for him. It’s been over a year since he returned to the tour. Maybe he’s not just really a slam contender. We’ll see.

polo, I only looked at Gasquet because I’m a fan. Didn’t mean to put him in the same league as the others.

Kimmi, JMDP is actually 1-5 against Murray. (His win was on clay in 2009.) But you’re right, because Murray’s defense is outrageously tough Delpo’s play doesn’t really trouble him that much.


carlo Says:

Tsonga turns 27 in July

8 titles; 1 Masters 1000 Paris

1 GS Final
———————-
Berdych turns 27 in September

7 titles; 1 Masters 1000 Paris

1 GS Final
———————-
del Potro turns 24 in September

9 titles

1 GS title
________

Murray, come on! go! turns 25

22 titles ; 8 masters 1000′s

3 GS Finals

jane, when you have time, check out the picture of Andy and Nole (andy’s atp profile) almost kissing at net AO, so very cute, but, please Lendl, help! :D Andy is too nice.

Murray has to win US Open, that’s all there is to it. the end.

Kimberly – on clay in Madrid 2009. The only time del Potro won. h2h 5-1. and they have not played since 2009! should be good if they meet on clay.

Eric – it will (probably)stop defending del Potro if he continues to lose to Federer and Nadal this year. I give him a pass for longer v Nole and Muzz.


carlo Says:

Eric, “it” = me, I, will stop defending delpo. okay.done.


Kimmi Says:

Congrats to Milos. He must love the american hard court swing. Second title this year already!


skeezerweezer Says:

Same here Kimmi, congrats to Milos and jane! Oh Canada! Would be awesome if he could break through and cause an uproar in the top 5, variety of game we need!!!!


skeezerweezer Says:

@K

Delpo has overcome his movement as a big man very well all things considered. After all, he is one lankly tall dude!

Fed has a nice game plan against the big guy, making him move front and back, not only side to side, and that kind of work requires some delicate footwork. This is why Imo am surprised he hasn’t had more success agains a Rafa or Nole who like to just bag from the baseline. Maybe that is coming?


mario Says:

Its seems to me that Federer can win at least one more major with his current form mirroring that of 2004-2008 where he just dominated the men’s game. The only difference being he has steady competition who have proven to be better than him when it counts.


jane Says:

skeezer, yeah pretty cool about Milosh :)

Re this ” This is why Imo am surprised he hasn’t had more success agains a Rafa or Nole who like to just bag from the baseline” – Both Nole and Rafa are super fast, so they can chase down volleys and drop shots really quickly and they can deal with them more than adequately and sometimes pretty damn awesomely. If you watch highlights of Fed-Nole at AO or IW last year, for example, Nole played net points very well. And Rafa has pretty great hands when he actually gets to the net. So maybe it’s down to movement (faster and more agile than Delpo) and the fact that both Nole and Rafa, while most definitely more comfy at the back, can also play at the net pretty well when coaxed there. But maybe Fed will keep trying that versus them more this year.


Steve 27 Says:

I wait another Murray vs Federer match, probably in Dubai semifinals, who is the real number 3.
Also Federer has not chance from be number 2 again anymore, is just a dream for the swiss fans, but it costs nothing to dream, no Dave?


malher Says:

@carlo and allison – i believe the delpo will rise this year – if it wasnt for the wrist he probably would have beaten the top players more times – i wish him luck !


Michael Says:

Steve27,

How can you be so sure when Murray is 0-2 against Roger in slam finals and that too in straight sets ?

Also Federer has no chance to become No2.
Do not ever write off anybody in Tennis more so a great Champion like Roger. He can and will bounce back. All that he has to do is to win a major this year and he will be right there in the reckoning for No.2


alison hodge Says:

michael and steve 27 you can never right off roger,ok for obvious reasons you it wont be easy for him,but then again nothing worth while ever is,and he wouldnt still be playing if he didnt think either senario was possible.
michael same for murray never has beaten roger in a grand slam final does not mean never will,things can go one way or the other in tennis,not just one way or the predictable way.


Michael Says:

Alison,

I agree with your post. There is no certainity in sport. But Steve27 was posting as though Murray had the measure of Roger in majors and I was only responding to him and pointing out the record. Murray is ofcourse a very good player and he has the game to take it to the top three. It is sad that he has not been able to win a major till now. But I believe his time has come and he has to prove himself in this year’s US Open where Murray will have his best chance. But he has his task cut out just because he has a mountain to climb in the name of Novak Djokovic.


alison hodge Says:

michael murray pushed djokovic very hard in the semi of the ao though,novak was there for the taking,sadly though not to be,dont get me wrong novaks a great player,but i believe he is vulnerable,but a great champion has an element of luck sometimes,and to be fare he has earned it,he was lucky murray choked on match point at rome last year,and against berdych at the wtfs who also choked when serving for the match,otherwise novak would have been whitewashed,people see novak as invincible,but on the flip side he will also have his work cut out for him to maintain that level.


alison hodge Says:

michael novak had an amazing year last year,and you can probably count his defeats on one hand,but its not as if he didnt loose matches to some great top players,federer at the fo,retired while loosing to murray,and delpo in the dc,ferrer and tipsy at the wtfs,nishikori,so sorry i dont believe there is such a thing as invincible imo.


Michael Says:

Alison,

To win big matches you have to be lucky as well as play well. Novak had them both in abundance and he deserved the glory. True, he was lucky in some matches especially the Rome Masters against Murray. But I do not think it was match point. Murray was serving for the match but he couldn’t serve it out. That happens especially against a great returner like Novak. No game is easy. If you call that as luck then so be it because it is the result which counts ultimately. Regarding that World tour finals against Berdych. It was no big deal because Novak didn’t even clear the Round robin stage, therefore that luck didn’t matter at all. Nobody is invincible but I used that term because Novak had such a wonderful 2011 and to beat Nadal in 7 consecutive finals and three major finals is a feat of the highest calibre.


alison hodge Says:

michael i think you missed the point of my post,no offence i know that you like the guy,but why is it such a big deal to admit that even he gets lucky in some matches from time to time,strange and also unfare when you say that novak wins games because hes a great returner which he is by the way dont get me wrong,and looses because he was unlucky,sometimes it could just be the case,that he was beaten by a better player,or is it only the worlds best player atm that deserves to be given any credit.

Top story: Federer, Berdych Breeze Into US Open QFs; Djokovic v Murray Wednesday Night
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ATP - Aug 25 WTA - Aug 25
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Rafael Nadal2 Simona Halep
3 Roger Federer3 Na Li
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6 Milos Raonic6 Maria Sharapova
7 Tomas Berdych7 Angelique Kerber
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