Venus Joins Serena on Early Sidelines at French Open; Thursday Previews
by Staff | May 30th, 2012, 11:17 pm
  • 142 Comments

The Williams sisters are old (in tennis terms), injured (Serena always), sick (Venus), tired (Venus), and out of shape (Serena). And after two rounds of play they’re both out of the 2012 French Open.


Following Serena’s first-ever first round exit at a Grand Slam on Tuesday at the hands of French journeywoman Virginie Razzano, Venus followed-up on Wednesday by losing in the second round 6-2, 6-3 to No. 3 seed Aggie Radwanska.

The seven-time Slam winner Venus has been working at a tour comeback ever since announcing at last year’s US Open that she was suffering from the fatigue-producing Sjogren’s syndrome. The 2012 French Open was her first Slam attempt since then.

“This is just the beginning for me,” said Venus, happy to be on the court again, and working toward a rankings eligibility to play the Olympics for the U.S. “Again. I have to be positive when I walk out on the court. I’m not playing under ideal circumstances but at the moment it’s about improving Olympic chances so I’ll deal with this somehow.”

World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, who struggled mightily in her first match, on Wednesday rolled over German qualifier Dinah Pfizenmaier 6-1 6-1.

“I never knew her before but I had to do a little bit of research yesterday, and I do remember her name — it’s just a little bit difficult to pronounce,” Azarenka said.

Other Top 10 results were No. 6 Samantha Stosur beating American Irina Falconi 6-1, 6-4, and Croatian Petra Martic upsetting No. 8 Marion Bartoli in three sets.

“It’s still only the third round and there is a long way to go yet before you are holding the trophy,” said Stosur, who will next meet Russian veteran Nadia Petrova.

Venus Williams’ trip-up was part of American women putting in a dreadful 1-6 win-loss on Wednesday. Former US Open darling Melanie Oudin was part of the carnage, thumped 6-2, 6-3 by Sara Errani.

“She’s definitely one of the best grinders on the clay, for sure,” Oudin said. “So it’s not a great match-up for me. But I think after being down 5-0 in the first set, I started playing much better. I’m still trying to get back, and definitely it was good to see how I matched up against her.”

Other Americans sent home Wednesday, all in straight sets, were qualifier Alexa Glatch losing to No. 18 Flavia Pennetta, and Vania King beaten by No. 15 Dominika Cibulkova.

The lone U.S. winner was Sloane Stephens, who beat fellow American Bethanie Mattek-Sands of 6-1, 6-1.

Other players on the upset tip were Spaniard Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez knocking out No. 20 Lucie Safarova, Frenchwoman Mathilde Johansson toppling No. 24 Petra Cetkovska, and Canuck Aleksandra Wozniak rolling over No. 31 Zheng Jie.

Women’s highlights on Thursday are slim pickings with (2) Maria Sharapova vs. Ayumi Morita, Serena-killer Virginie Razzano vs. former world No. 1 junior Arantxa Rus, Brit comer Heather Watson vs. (25) Julia “Gorgeous” Goerges, and an all-American battle in Christina McHale vs. Lauren Davis.

On the men’s side Wednesday there were no seeded upsets, but No. 11-seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon was stretched to the limit by American feel-good story Brian Baker. Simon won the first two sets before Baker evened the match at two sets all, but Simon ran away with the fifth set 6-0.

“Of course, I was feeling it in the body,” Baker said of the fifth set. “But it was more a case of me playing a couple of bad points in the first two games of the set. I was a little more nervous, being one set away from winning, and I tried to end a couple of points too soon.”

Top 10 seeds in action were No. 1 Novak Djokovic defeating Slovenian Blaz Kavcic in straights, No. 3 Roger Federer beating Romanian Jan Unger in four, No. 7 Tomas Berdych stopping Frenchman Michael Llodra in straights, and No. 9 Juan Martin del Potro beating Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin in four sets.

“Instead of being aggressive I let him show me what he could do,” Federer said of his match. “He played two beautiful shots and he played very well.”

Djokovic won the first set 6-0 before his opponent worked his way into the match.

“I stopped,” Djokovic said. “I gave him the opportunity to come back into the match after a perfect first seven games.”

In other notable seeded matches, No. 14 Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco defeated Gilles Muller after dropping the first set, and No. 21 Marin Cilic beat former French Open champ Juan Carlos Ferrero in straights.

Thursday highlights at Roland Garros include (4) Andy Murray vs. Jarkko Nieminen, (10) John Isner vs. French homeboy Paul-Henri Mathieu, (2) Rafa Nadal vs. Denis Istomin, (7) Richard Gasquet vs. future star pick Grigor Dimitrov, Marcos Baghdatis vs. (12) Nicolas Almagro, (8) Janko Tipsarevic vs. French homeboy Jeremy Chardy, American scrapper Jesse Levine vs. (19) Milos Raonic, and former world No. 2 Tommy Haas vs. Sergiy Stakhovsky.

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Only two American men remain, both from the SEC: Jesse Levine and John Isner…Canadian-born Jesse Levine plays Canadian Milos Raonic who was born in Montenegro…For the first time both Williams sisters failed to reach the third round…Ayumi Morita is 0-13 career against Top 10 players, she plays Maria SharapovaAga Radwanska could be ranked No. 1 on the WTA computer a week from Monday…Gilles Simon has never lost to an American at the French Open (7-0)… Li Na has won 8 straight matches at Roland Garros…Roger Federer now leads every man in history with 234 career Grand Slam singles match wins…2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone is just two wins shy of 500 total WTA victories…The last time there were no American men in the 3rd round at the French Open was in 2007…Paul-Henri Mathieu won the French Open junior title in 2000…Brian Baker will rise into the Top 130 in the next ATP Rankings.

Court Philippe Chatrier 11:00 AM Start Time
1. Men’s Singles – 2nd Round
Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) v. Andy Murray (GBR)[4]
2. Women’s Singles – 2nd Round
Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS) v. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)[9]
3. Men’s Singles – 2nd Round
Paul-Henri Mathieu (FRA) v. John Isner (USA)[10]
4. Women’s Singles – 2nd Round
Ayumi Morita (JPN) v. Maria Sharapova (RUS)[2]
Court Suzanne Lenglen 11:00 AM Start Time
1. Women’s Singles – 2nd Round
Urszula Radwanska (POL) v. Petra Kvitova (CZE)[4]
Not Before:12:00 PM

2. Men’s Singles – 2nd Round
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe (GER) v. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)[5]
To Finish 2-6 6-4 1-1
3. Men’s Singles – 2nd Round
Denis Istomin (UZB) v. Rafael Nadal (ESP)[2]
4. Women’s Singles – 2nd Round
Na Li (CHN)[7] v. Stephanie Foretz Gacon (FRA)
5. Men’s Singles – 2nd Round
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) v. Richard Gasquet (FRA)[17]


Also Check Out:
Serena v Lefty, Crying Game v Slicy in Wimbledon Women’s Semis
Venus Beats Serena, Joins Jankovc, Zvonareva in Doha Championships Semifinals
Sharapova v Lisicki the Popcorn Match; Wimbledon Women’s Semi Previews
Tennis-X Blog: Roddick, Schiavone Sliding Along on Grass Wednesday; Thursday Previews
Serena, Venus Williams Battle Today at Miami, No. 1 Rank in Balance

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142 Comments for Venus Joins Serena on Early Sidelines at French Open; Thursday Previews

ACE Academy Says:

It is clear that Venus is unfortunately on the way down. To be handled as she did today was a somewhat sad.
To see younger Americans at the Olympics would be a great thing. Sloan Stephens seems to be the next American hope. Whomever the 4 are, it will be a difficult task to bring gold home.


TomA Says:

Sam Stosur is not the defending champion! She is the 2010 finalist.


Wog boy Says:

“Slovak Blaz Kavcic”

He is Slovenian, not Slovak:)


mat4 Says:

Woggy, admit that it can be confusing…


Wog boy Says:

mat4,

It can be very confusing, I know, even Slovenia and Slovakia don’t have common border. When I came to Australia it was still Yugoslavia (Jugoslavija) and when I was telling my Aussie friends where I am from, lot of them use to say ” o yes, I know you are from Czechoslovakia” , now it is even more confusing with so many new states in Eastern Europe:)
I don’t blame them.


skeezer Says:

^how about just…”he’s from over there( arm extended and finger pointed )”.


Wog boy Says:

Skeezer,

I cannot do that way, when I was little we were not alowed to point to something with the finger, it was considered very unpolite by my mother, we had to say it:) even today I don’t feel comfortable when I am pointing with my arm (finger) .


skeezer Says:

Yes some cultures that is rude, and same as a cast member in Disneyland, you cannot point with one finger, has to be 2 at least or preferably the whole hand.

I assume Rafa is demolishing Istomin today?

PS if we can look through the right lenses we are all from the same place;)


Brando Says:

”PS if we can look through the right lenses we are all from the same place;)”

LMAO!


racquet Says:

The Nadal/Istomin is more competitive than the scoreline suggests. Some fantastic rallies so far. Istomin is playing superbly but Nadal isn’t giving him an inch.


Wog boy Says:

I wasn’t sure about the meaning of the “same place”, but yes, that was what I was thinking too, Brando :)

Poor Istomin, Rafa is running him around, he will not last much longer.


Brando Says:

rafa wins- 62 62 60!

thought he improved as the match went on- BUT he needs to work on the serve still IMO!

Nonetheless he ONLY dropped 4 games, so can’t be too bad really.

i like the fact that the FH is really starting to control points- a good sign going forward!


Brando Says:

@Wog Boy:

another case of ‘great minds thinking alike’, wouldn’t you agree? :-)


the mind reels Says:

Only caught about 10 minutes of the Nadal/Istomin match this morning, but it didn’t look like Istomin ever had a chance. He gives Nadal plenty of rhythm, not much pace, and eventually throws up a fluff ball on his backhand for Nadal to move in and punish. While generally a bad match-up for most, a particularly bad match-up for Istomin.


Wog boy Says:

Brando,

:-)

As for Istomin, even Duracell wouldn’t help him today.

Just watching Isner, he looks like every mother’s wish as a date for their doughters (and one father…me).


jane Says:

Interesting to hear your take on what you saw of Rafa/Istomin TMR. I missed it but the stats back up your point about Rafa “moving in and punishing” – he won 12 of 14 points at net.

I was surprised to see that Mathieu broke back against Isner. And where is PHM when he’s not at the FO? Seems like I don’t see him all year, and then up he pops at the French, and there he is on centre court in a big match. His singles ranking in #261! Has he been injured or what?


jane Says:

Looking forward to Dimitrov vs Gasquet and Tispy vs Chardy might be good also. The Frenchies are doing well in the early rounds.


Wog boy Says:

OK, this is it I have to record the rest of the matches….falling asleep…… Go Johnny Boy


Polo Says:

When I watched the Dimitrov-Young match, I though the former played too far behind the baseline. That tactic used to be effective during Borg’s time but they used wooden racquets then. I don’t think you can play effectively by staying way behind the baseline all the time.


the mind reels Says:

@jane: yea, true what you say about PHM. That guy has been known to bring it at the FO. He didn’t play at all last year (knee injury) and has been mixing in 250 events with challengers for much of this year. I remember a few years ago he gave Fed a tough battle for the first hour or so in the third round at Roland Garros. Took the first set off of him even.

He plays well at home.


Wog boy Says:

It looks like Andy is having really big problem with his back, according to himself after today’s match.


jane Says:

Yeah I went at checked ATP to see what PHM has been up to. Seems he also became a father to a little boy in March, and I noticed that most events he’s played this year have been, relatively speaking, closer to home. I remember that match against Fed I think. He usually goes at least a couple rounds here. Too bad he was never able to break into the top ten. He was ranked 12th in 2008 though.


jane Says:

*and checked not *at


jane Says:

Polo, I have noticed that about Dimitrov too; I didn’t see the Young match, but I have noticed in other matches, one against Berydch I think, where Gregor played too far behind the baseline. If it works anywhere, though, might that be on clay? Because of the high bounce and such?


jane Says:

^ For example I read this about Nadal “The Spaniard employed a tactic of returning from way behind the baseline and quickly making his way forward to take control of the point.”


Polo Says:

@jane:

Yes, of all the surfaces, clay may be the one where you can play a bit behind the baseline but Dimitrov stands so way behind all the time. It must be tough to switch into an effective offensive mode from so far. And nowadays, a purely defensive game will get you nowhere. I would like to see how he plays against Gasquet.


jane Says:

It’s on now Polo. I think I will look for a stream.

For Rafa fans, the NYT’s wrote a glowing report on Rafa’s match. They said he returned from WAY behind the baseline and it worked against Istomin. Here’s the link:

http://straightsets.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/31/nadal-overpowers-istomin/


Brando Says:

@Jane:

Hi and thanks for the article. to answer your question from the murray thread.

All in all, yes i am happy. BUT at the same time it’s the start of the tourny still isn’t it really.

he needs to improve the serve IMO, a higher % of 1st serve in is required, BUT beyond that his game seem genuinely solid atm. it should improve naturally going forward.

the most pleasing thing for me is that he seems calm, composed on court- something which he himself acknowledged in his presser post bolleli.

that’s a good sign me thinks, since when rafa is at ease with himself, that’s when he plays his best.


jane Says:

PMH is not doing too badly handling Isner’s serves. He has to leap to hit the kickers, but he won the second set.

Chardy, Benneteau and Gasquet are all winning their matches (Gasquet just broke Dimitrov).


the mind reels Says:

PHM is now up a break in the third, and Gasquet/Dimitrov are back on serve in the first.

I’m pretty impressed with PHM’s return stats: he’s winning 34% of Isner’s first-serve points and 54% of second-serve points while taking care of business on his own serve (81% first-serve points won).

Isner is serving slightly better, but he is littering the stats sheet with unforced errors (40 to PHM’s 16).


jane Says:

Interesting things developing potentially, with PHM winning the third and Dimitrov winning the first over Gasquet. Upsets in the making?


racquet Says:

The ‘most destructive force in men’s tennis’ is now trailing 2 sets to 1. Matthieu is really stepping up, nice to see. He has been through the wringer. I see that Dimitrov took the first set against Gasquet. I wish TV would show that match instead of Tipsy/Chardy.


van orten Says:

it is about time for dimitrov to make a move!!!!


jane Says:

racquet, you could try for streaming? Perhaps google sport lemon or else livescorehunter? I have Isner/PMH on TV and Gasquet/Dimi on streaming. :)


racquet Says:

jane – ah, you’re also a multi-tasker. I’ll do that, but after a while I go a bit cross-eyed. Isner breaks in the 4th.


jane Says:

Dimitrov is playing very well. Gasquet is frustrated.


conty Says:

Dimitrov v Gasquet is delightful!! but I have an appointment…will have to catch it later. It’s baby fed v baby fed :)

If you watch cycling you know Slovenia from Slovakia; both countries have great cyclists. Czech good ones too and Polish. But not many from Serbia or Croatia. Not sure why. There are some very good World cup skiers from Croatia. No shortage of mountains, I don’t think. But most Polish and Slovak cyclists are on Italian teams and the Czech’s and Croat’s are on Astana. But that has nothing to do with anything, I don’t think; just coincidence and me yabbering. sorry to miss this match, Dimitrov v Gasquet.


jane Says:

Gasquet isn’t playing that well whereas Dimitrov seems to be playing very well: he’s hitting more winners than Gasquet – more errors too, but he’s the one making things happen. He’s just broken to serve for the second set. Gasquet is having an off day, only 55% first serves, 7 double faults! Eek. This is looking like an upset at this point.


racquet Says:

Dimitrov breaks in the 2nd. Good match. Nice to see so many lovely one-handed BHs.


racquet Says:

What happened to Dimitrov? He’s writhing around in pain.


jane Says:

Gasquet breaks back and holds. Dimitrov is getting treated for what – cramping? Now he seems just fine. Weird.


racquet Says:

He was in tears during the changeover. Still looks affected by them. So unfortunate. Now Gasquet takes the 2nd set.


jane Says:

Gasquet wins set 2. Much clutching from Dimitrov and he’s being massaged again. I understand cramping in set five, say; however, it seems odd that he’s cramping this early into the match.

Meanwhile PHM and Isner in a 5th set dog fight.


jane Says:

35 aces now for Isner (to 5 for PHM).

Not sure what will happen with Dimitrov: it looks like he’ll try to play through it.


racquet Says:

Yeah, cramping in the 2nd set is very odd. Goes to show that no matter how talented you are, it’s nothing without good fitness to back it up.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

This Isner=Mathieu match is quite a mutual bludgeoning.


racquet Says:

That’s the thing with Isner matches. He has too many marathons early in the slams. He should be winning them more efficiently by now.


jane Says:

^ Good point racquet. It can work in 3 set or Davis Cup format, to go those long matches, but if he is going 5 sets too often early at the slams, it could wear him down. He’s hanging in there so far today though. One kind of feels like PHM is just at the edge, that Isner will outlast/outserve him ultimately.

15-30


Polo Says:

Cramping even before the end of a second set? How unfit is Dimitrov? I have read reports before that this kid has very poor work ethic. He is very talented but very lazy, one report said.


jane Says:

Break point for Isner.


jane Says:

Deuce.

Break point for Dimitrov. He seems to only look bothered when he loses a point. Then he bends over. ;)


racquet Says:

PMH edgily saves a breakpoint. Nerves of steel stuff. And here’s another.


jane Says:

Deuce for Gasquet. BP for Isner again. Nope Deuce. Can’t keep up with drama in both matches.

racquet, am going cross-eyed now. LOL.


jane Says:

Both Frenchies hold.


racquet Says:

jane, I know. ;) I wish this Isner match would end already.


racquet Says:

One of the commentators of Isner/PHM just said that there’s enough light remaining for 20 more games. Please no!


Polo Says:

Just showed a close-up of Isner. He had that look that says, “What am I doing in this never ending 5th set again?”


jane Says:

Dimitrov seems fine again. Cramps must’ve subsided. He’s playing better now, running side to side, defending, hitting winners, and Gasquet in turn is becoming passive, playing much too far behind the baseline.


jane Says:

Love-30 for PHM


racquet Says:

At last! 3 MPs for PHM.


jane Says:

How to break Isner though? He needs a second serve.


jane Says:

2 gone…


Polo Says:

I don’t know who to root for. I just want it to end ASAP.


racquet Says:

Argh…he saves all of them. 11-11.


Polo Says:

They should just declare this a tie; then declare a walkover for whoever the winner here is supposed to face in the next round.


racquet Says:

Anyone taking bets on the final score? 14-12, 18-16, 70-68?


jane Says:

12 all… ….. ….. ……..


Polo Says:

I think Isner’s goal is to be in the longest matches ever played in each of the four majors.


jane Says:

13 all……….This one CANNOT go as long at the Wimbledon match did; it’s clay and there have actually been some rallies. They’ll keel over or cramp or something.

Gasquet is up 5-2 in the fourth.


skeezer Says:

Isner is done for FO, win or lose, too bad :(


racquet Says:

Gasquet wins. Dimitrov was more than a match for him. I think I see signs of maturing. He could’ve easily given up with those cramps.


jane Says:

Gasquet had to deal with a lot in that win: a streaking Dimitrov, a cramping Dimitrov; his own on and off form. It was a good win for him. Dimitrov better hit the gym! He really does have all the shots but he was moody and crampy from the second set onwards.


racquet Says:

jane – ‘moody and crampy’. I like that. In fact, that’s what I’m feeling watching this Isner match.


jane Says:

14 all…………

True racquet, about Dimitrov persevering; he needs to deal with his fitness issues or make sure he’s properly hydrated or whatever.

I also thought it showed mental toughness on Gasquet’s part; it’s easy to get distracted by an opponent in that situation, but Reeshard got to work.


racquet Says:

God help us when Isner and Raonic meet.


jane Says:

^ LOL, I think Raonic would break him. Okay here are another TWO MATCH POINTS.


racquet Says:

MP no. 4


jane Says:

Both gone.


jane Says:

Isner doesn’t show much passion.


racquet Says:

There’s not going to be enough light to finish this, methinks.


jane Says:

16 all………..


jane Says:

Isner 41 aces; Mathieu 6.


racquet Says:

MP no. 6


jane Says:

OMG, 2 more match points for Mathieu… 1 gone.


jane Says:

HE GOT IT! It’s over! What a big upset. PHM ranked 261. Isner top ten.


racquet Says:

Finally. Matthieu wins.


jane Says:

Hey racquet you called 18-16 as a possible above. :)


racquet Says:

Oh that’s right. Shame bet365.com weren’t offering odds on it.


jane Says:

Dang, too bad.


racquet Says:

Funny thing is: Mathieu’s next opponent will also have undergone a 5 setter. Granollers/Jaz locked in a battle that will probably be continued tomorrow.


van orten Says:

come on tommy haasssss …what a player…now vs gasquet…he def. has a shot!!!1


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Haven’t seen much tennis so far, Rafa’s scoreline against Istomin, a decent player, is pretty impressive. who does everyone think is in top form?


skeezer Says:

TV,

Me neither. There is no matchups in the draw against Rafa that are interesting (imo) to watch until the finals.

Iso is not a good test. He is terrible against lefties, and his success is on grass/indoors. In Rafa’s first match, the guy he played hasn’t won A match on Clay this year. Rafa will finally get a test in the Finals….l

Mathieu/Granoliers should just withdraw together and sit by a pool with cheese, grapes and Vino and call it a day.


jane Says:

By the sounds of it Istomin played well but didn’t adjust to Rafa’s tactics. I haven’t seen it; waiting for the replay. But I read some write ups and apparently Rafa was playing way back for the ROS, 10 ft behind the baseline, and Istomin kept slamming serves deep into the box. Why not take something off it and go for angles? I guess it’s easier said than done. But I did see a couple highlights and Rafa was chasing everything down, including some shots that would be winners versus others.

Here is what I posted on the other thread about the remaining draw:

….Of the top four’s remaining draws through the semis, in my opinion, Murray and Nole’s are the most dangerous. They should get through the next matches okay, assuming Murray is healthy: Murray v Giraldo, Nole v Devilder. But then Nole faces either Seppi or Hotsauce (both fairly hot on clay this year) and Murray faces Haas or Gasquet. I think Gasquet and Hotsauce are the two more dangerous opponents here. If they win, in the QFs Nole could have Tsonga, Simon, Wawrinka or Fognini, and personally I think Simon could be the toughest, while Muzza will likely have Ferrer (can’t see anyone left in that section taking him out). In short, there are tough possible opponents in both the R16 and QFs for them, whereas Fed and Rafa have only one possible rough pre-semi, and Rafa’s probably isn’t even rough.

This is Rafa at RG after all. The tough match could be the R16 versus Milos or Monaco. But come on: he’ll still win it, probably in straight sets. His QF will be Nico or Tispy, neither of which is a threat, and likely his semi will be Ferrer, whom he owns. So he will surely get to the finals, likely without dropping a set.

Fed has an easy route to the QF, and unless Berdych reaches that point – who is the only one in that section that can trouble Fed imo (Delpo hasn’t taken even a set in their last 4 matches has he? Plus he has a knee injury from Madrid) – then I think Fed sails into the semis rather comfortably.

Indeed I think it could be a Fedal final again. It’s only third round so anything can happen of course, but that’s just my hunch. I think Nole could reach the semi, and I hope he does, but Fed might be in better shape at that point.

All speculation; all to play for, but that’s just how it looks. Maybe given that my faves are Nole and Muzza it affects my view, but if we honestly look at rankings, clay success, match ups etc, I think it’s a pretty fair assessment.


Brando Says:

@Jane:

interesting take. Here’s how i see it:

- WHO HAS THE TOUGHEST ROUTE TO SF?

i look at this as, who is the most vulnerable one and possibly won’t make it to SF, in that scenario:

1- Murray: NO DOUBT ABOUT IT. IF he makes QF it’s an achievement for him.

2- Federer: BERDYCH is very dangerous- the toughest opponent for any of the top 3 pre SF.

3- Djokovic: i agree with you (jane) that on paper he has a yough route- BUT for me he doesn’t have anyone as dangerous as berdych who may beat him. Granted verdasco and simon might give him a tough BUT neither really can beat him. It will be a shock if he were to even lose 2 sets to either- let alone a match.

4- Nadal: its RG. simple as that for rafa.

- who’s playing the best so far:

1- Nadal: based on scoreline its him- BUT IMO as a rafa fan, i recognise this as a FALSE position. He’s played the easiest opponents so far.

2- Djokovic: at times in his matches a bit shaky BUT straight set wins, one bagel, and generally fairly solid on serve.

3- Federer: at times- in full flow- he’s looked the BEST IMO, BUT he has lost a set, and has the most UE.

4- Murray: not looking good at all really. should he carry on in the tourny is the real question with him.

Still TOO EARLY really to forecast anything really IMO.


Fritz Says:

@Jane

It appears you are biassed (as usual) and think that your fave has it the hardest. Jane, you are an incurable pessimist :-)

I think Rafa has the toughest road to final. Here is the comparison between Rafa and Nole:

1/8
Rafa: Raonic or Monaco
Nole: Verdasco or Seppi
Rafa’s oppnents are tougher on clay

1/4
Rafa: Almagro or Tipsarevic
Nole: Tsonga, Simon, Wawrinka or Fognini
Again, Rafa has it tougher

1/2
One word only: rested Ferrer


skeezer Says:

^rafa has the toughest road to the final….what? LMAO!!


mat4 Says:

jane, Brando,

I’d rather agree with Brando, this time, except for Rafa. I think Ferrer could be a danger. He was close every time they played this year, and I can’t believe he won’t be able to win at least a set. Raonic shouldn’t be a problem, but Monaco plays well and could be a good test to Rafa, though I don’t really believe he could endanger him. I believe that Nico could make a match, too.

About Berdych: it all depend on Roger’s return of serve and of his overall level. The big Czech could pose some problems, but Roger should pull through. Berdych looks good against Rafa, who use to defend very much, but against Roger, Tipsy or Nole, who make him run a lot, he doesn’t leave the same impression.

I didn’t look at Andy’s quarter, but he should make the quarter. Just checked: he has Giraldo and Haas, or perhaps Gasquet. Gasquet could be dangerous, but I bet on Haas.

Nole has Devilder and Seppi in the next two rounds: shouldn’t be that hard.


mat4 Says:

BTW, Cilic plays very well and I won’t be surprised should he make the QF.


mat4 Says:

Hi, Skeez.


Brando Says:

@Fritz:

LOL, your being too harsh on jane there!

R16:

Raonic / Monaco or Verdasco / Seppi= i would say EQUAL.

QTRS:

ALmagro / Tipsy or Tsonga / simon – EQUAL again.

SF:

Ferrer / Federer= EASILY FEDERER.

Tsonga’s WEAKEST surface is clay, simon NEARLY lost to the unheralded baker, wawa or fognini- LESS SAID THE BETTER. BUT federer is tough.

both shall make SF EASILY. VERY EASILY.


skeezer Says:

@mat4

Aloha from my travels in DC.


mat4 Says:

“Jane, you are an incurable pessimist :-)”

Indeed! But “it is the true” that all Nole fans started to sound like Rafa. Me included.


jane Says:

Murray and Nole have the toughest to the semis. Call it whatever you will, but it’s supportable, considering the things I mentioned: ranking, success on clay, AND match ups.

When you factor in the latter, it highlights the variables more. None of those people you mention Fritz have beaten Rafa on clay and I’d wager a guess that he was winning H2Hs versus them.

Meanwhile, Hotsauce is 3-2 over Nole on clay and even beat Raafa this year, and Gasquet just beat Muzz in Rome. Tsonga is 5-5 with Nole (well Nole does have the only clay match on his side), and Simon and Wawa are both solid on clay. Simon is a particularly tough out. Ferrer has always beaten Muzza on clay. In semis Nole would have to beat Fed, likely, or Berdych, possibly, the one people claim is dangerous for Fed. Muzz would have to beat Rafa!

Possible opponent’s rankings:
Nole’s: R16 Hotsauce (16), QF Simon (12) or Tsonga (5), SF Fed (3) or Berdych (7) – no one below 16.

Murray’s: R16 Gasquet (20), QF Ferrer (6), SF Rafa (2) – no one below 20.

Fed’s: R16 Goffin (109) or Kubot (49), QF Delpo (9 – but injured) or Berdy (7), SF Nole or Tsonga (1 or 5) – no one below 109.

Rafa’s: R16 Monaco (15) or Raonic (22), QF Almagro (13) or Tipsy (8), and SF Ferrer (6) or Murray (4) – no one below 22.


jane Says:

mat4, I won’t be surprised if Cilic beats Delpo either; Delpo is injured and has already struggled in his past couple of matches. But Cilic beating Berdych? Berdych just beat him at MC this year 7-6, 6-1 and he is 4-1 H2H over him. I’d be surprised. On hard court perhaps, but clay? I’d have to say Berd.


jane Says:

Brando:

“SF:Ferrer / Federer= EASILY FEDERER.”

Totally agree! I mean Fed’s won the FO and been in the final another 4 times. He’s the toughest semi by far!

“QTRS:ALmagro / Tipsy or Tsonga / simon – EQUAL again.”

It’s close perhaps but I think if Nole could pick he would rather have Tipsy or Almagro. (Tsonga and Simon are both Frenchies so crowd support. Tsonga has taken Fed out at a slam and been in a slam final; plus he loves a big match. Simon had Fed on the ropes at the AO and has been playing well on the dirt this spring).


mat4 Says:

jane,

it has to be an effect of the Georgian black tea I drank, but I am in the mood for bold predictions. So:

Seppi over Hotsauce,
Haas over Reeshard,
Monaco over Raonic,
Stan over the Stick insect,
Cilic over Delpo,
and Fabulous over Jo.

Don’t drink Georgian tea.


jane Says:

mat4, interesting, and you know what? I can see almost all of those predictions coming true. Not sure about Stan over Simon or Fabulous over Jo. But I’ll be glued to the TV. :)


Brando Says:

@jane: I’d still say EQUAL. Tipsy and alamgro are both better than tsonga on clay. Simon nearly lost to baker. BAR home crowd, I think it’s a very good draw. Out of the 4 almagro and Simon MAY push rafa or nole, BUT neither would win IMO. Re fed or ferrer: it’s a bit of a silly comparison there by fritz TBH.


jane Says:

…and if they do come true, of course it changes all of this speculation. :)


Polo Says:

Murray has the toughest road of the top 4 because he is ailing. In every match, he faces 2 opponents: the other player and his own back.


jane Says:

I can see your reasoning Brando, and even ranking-wise Almagro (13) and Simon (12) and Tipsy (8) and Tsonga (5) are close.


jane Says:

Good point Polo.


conty Says:

Picked Paul Henri Matthieu!!! hehehe….only on in the bracket to do that. *tooting my horn* beep beep!


mat4 Says:

I was in a serious temptation to add

Schwank over Rafa…

On a more serious side:

I think that Seppi has a chance. He has matured and recently had good results in Belgrade and Rome. Still, FV is the favourite.

Wawrinka has a very powerful game and if his head is clear and his nerves steady, it won’t be easy for Gilou. Especially since French players usually feel some pressure playing in Paris.

Gasquet can be sublime but he can also lose against a nobody. Haas played well in Munich, and he has started here well too.

Fabio over Jo: just a wish.


conty Says:

only “one” not “on”


jane Says:

Good job conty! Nice call. I was happy for him.


mat4 Says:

I am glad for Paulo. He has always been a fine clay court player, but he never showed so much grit and determination.


conty Says:

Mat4 are you ‘alejandrobello’ the leader of Kimberly’s tennis-x bracket challenge? come on “fess-up, trig”

come out, come out and reveal yourself, whoever you are…. ‘alejandrobello’, or i get your bracket. ‘


mat4 Says:

Unfortunately, I am not. Trig suits me better, when it comes to bracket challenge.


jane Says:

Maybe it’s racquet; we should ask him/her because I did ask him/her to play this time and s/he said s/he would. Sorry for all the slashes but don’t want to assume F/M.


mat4 Says:

Conty:

BTW, what does “fess-up” means? I got a term of heraldry when I translated it.


Fritz Says:

“Murray has the toughest road of the top 4 because he is ailing.”

I love the guy but he is hurt and won’t go much further in FO 2012. That is why Ferrer will be well rested and relatively unchalenged for his semis.

Federer vs. Ferrer in semifinal? Have in mind that both Rafa and Nole are in this to win it all and not just to make the final. Therefore, both of them would prefer Federer in semis over well rested (he will be) Ferrer. The main reason: win or lose, matches against Fed are relatively short and do not take as much energy as Ferrer matches.

For Novak, if he beats Fed in semis (~2.5 hours), he will be much fresher for the final compared to what would be the case had he played and defeated Ferrer in semis (~4.5 hours).
The same applies for Rafa. I doubt his knees like facing rested Ferrer before potentially grueling final with Nole.


mat4 Says:

@Fritz:

“The main reason: win or lose, matches against Fed are relatively short and do not take as much energy as Ferrer matches.”

Especially when you lose. ;-)


conty Says:

Yep, that’s what I’m guessing but I’m thinking ‘alejandrobello’ is female, clearly follows and knows tennis…alejandrobello is just too great a username to be male…and you write the minutes and hours like jane. so please alejandrobello spare me from my imagination! ;)

and …whoever, wherever you are ale ale jandro bello…you have more comments on your bracket than any of us…come tell us your secret on the bracket, okay?


conty Says:

Well, i don’t know BBC sitcoms but from the links you posted i take it, ‘trigger’ refers to roy roger’s dead, stuffed horse. lol

“fess-up” is short in western cowboy jargon for ‘confess’


mat4 Says:

Conty, you couldn’t say it better.


conty Says:

i can’t believe all the hard draw, easy draw nonsense every bracket. It’s all relative, depending on the conditions of the players, the surface, all sorts of variables. I don’t doubt there’s some ‘fixing’ of the top seeds. But in the end, hey, all Murray’s opponents look hard because of his back issues, all Rogers look hard because it’s 5 setters and he’s at an age disadvantage, all Nole’s look relatively easy – Nole is afterall #1 and in good health now – emotionally there’s the question but he is quite the physical specimen, and Rafa’s opponents look lame because Rafa owns Chartrier if he’s healthy and he does look healthy; 25 years old, new life in his knees, and the king of Clay.


jane Says:

In 13 matches on clay against Nadal, Ferrer has won 3 sets. In 14 matches on clay against Nadal, Federer has won 2 matches and 10 sets. For Rafa the easier opponent is Ferrer if we go by this.

In 5 matches on clay Fed is 3-2 over Nole, including last year’s semifinal at RG. Nole’s won 6 sets over Fed. Nole has played Ferrer 4 times on clay and has won only once. So maybe for Nole the easier opponent is Fed? Fritz could be right in this case if we go strictly by results.

But in a grand slam over 5 sets, Fed has always proven tougher to beat than Ferrer, no matter what slam. And at the FO Fed’s won and reached 5 finals whereas Ferrer has never reached the semis. So I don’t know. I still say Fed is the tougher one ALL things considered, but Ferrer is a tough out.


jane Says:

conty what does this mean: “you write the minutes and hours like jane.” ?


conty Says:

jane, i notice bracket details cos i’m obsessed. the question was: how many minutes will the final go on. you put it in hours and minutes, so did alejandrobello, i was teasing you though about being alejandrobello :D

the rest of us put the final in minutes like skeezer’s made me laugh because he has nadal and djokovic going 480 minutes lol….


jane Says:

Oh I didn’t even notice that, so I went to look. I see NiteOwl wrote it that way too.


conty Says:

oh, NiteOwl also did the final time in hours and minutes but i didn’t think of her being the mysterious ‘alejandrobello’


conty Says:

well, I very humbly must disagree about Federer and 5 setters, jane. When has he won a 5 set match vs Rafa on clay? I mean is it really that much of a possibility? Nadal would need to be injured, imo. Stranger things have happened, I guess…


conty Says:

But I am biased because I seriously do not want another Fedal at Rolland Garros….uhg…

Djokovic is his main contender. I can’t see anyone else stopping Rafa, as he is, healthy and injury-free. Rafa could win maybe 4 more FO titles, unless a true clay court genius like himself shows up.


Brando Says:

@Jane:

Thanks for the stats- also impressive research re fed/ ferrer v rafa on clay.

The stats seems to support my notion that djokovic has been generally solid, and that rafa needs to improve his 1st Serve %.


Kimmi Says:

Jane, i was just looking at your link. i remember a while back rafa used to clock very high first serve %. he was regularly doing over 75%. Looks like he is going for placement now..while during the old days he wasn’t going for placement much.

Murray is serving much higher too which is surprising for him. Good news for murray if he can keep this up.

Anything over 60% is very good from what i hear from commentators. 72% for djokovic must be a dream.


jane Says:

Kimmi, yeah I thought those stats were interesting, just to see where they’re all “at” so far, areas they could improve etc. One thing that I thought was ironic is that Rafa has clocked the least amount of time on court. :)

conty, sure, lately over 5 sets Fed hasn’t been great, but come on, he’s the current King of Slams regardless having always reached at least QFs and having won 16 of em. That makes him a tougher out over 5 sets than Ferrer in my opinion. Fedal considerations aside.


Kimmi Says:

^^well, rafa has lost only 4 games today, so it does make sense. while fed and djokovic have been pushed to tie breaks already. Federer errors are too many imo. I think it must be his first round match that made it look worse. He played much better in the second round.

I think TP is updating it every round. It will be interesting to see how it all pans out.


conty Says:

Guess it depends on your perspective and opinion about Federer, jane. You, and legions of other Fedfans agree. The numbers don’t tell the whole story, numbers and stat’s vary over time. It’s about less mileage in the body and a whole lot of things vs more clever and experienced now. If he can conserve himself and not have tough 4 and 5 setters prior to the GS final, maybe. I’m more skeptical about him now v when he was even 28, let’s say. And you can’t count him out in other tournaments. I just don’t believe he can beat both a healthy Djokovic and Nadal in a GS 5 set match. It’s my opinion because I worry for Federer’s health and toll it takes on him physically during back to back 5 setters at his age. Depends on the day and the opponent and how he fared getting through the GS draw, whether the draw appears easy or not. It’s not mostly on his racquet like it was in his glory days – minus FO vs Rafa, of course.


mat4 Says:

I don’t know for Roger, Rafa and Andy (I watched only parts of their matches), but I believe I could tell a few words about Nole’s stats.

He seems to work very much on his serve placement lately, especially down the T. But you can still notice that when he is tired, his % drops or he serve with more safety. That reduce vastly the efficiency of his first serve. He has improved his second serve too.

His overall level of play improves greatly when he serves well. It was clear in his first two matches, especially against PS and in the first set against Kavcic.

He still doesn’t hit his flat FH with the indispensable consistency (ouf!).

His main problem is that he doesn’t have a clear strategy when to approach the net. It could cost him dearly in a potential final, though he will, of course, without any doubts, win, especially if he plays Schwank or Tipsy.

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