Nadal Surges, Serena Struggles, Bartoli Retires from Tennis
by Staff | August 14th, 2013, 11:19 pm

Three of the Top 4 men were in action on Wednesday in Cincinnati, and all three advanced comfortably into the round of 16 with straight-set wins.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic led the way with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Argentine Juan Monaco.

“I expected a little bit of a challenge for myself,” Djokovic said. “Especially because he’s a good player, but also because it’s the first match here in Cincinnati, which has different conditions from what we played in Montreal.”

No. 2 seed and reigning Wimbledon champion Andy Murray was impressive in a 6-2, 6-2 win over Russian veteran Mikhail Youzhny, while No. 4 Rafael Nadal was too much off the ground for Benjamin Becker, defeating the German 6-2, 6-2.

“When you change cities, change a little bit of weather, the feelings on the ball is different,” Nadal said. “The speed of the court is not exactly the same. It’s a little bit slower here than in Montreal. And when you have these kind of tournaments back to back it’s not easy, but I’m very happy with the way I played this afternoon and the way that I adapted the game.”

The two upset-makers on the day were unseeded American John Isner serving No. 8 Richard Gasquet off the court 7-6(6), 6-2, and Spanish veteran Tommy Robredo outlasting No. 9 Stan Wawrinka 7-5, 3-6, 6-3.

Other seeded winner were No. 6 Tomas Berdych rolling past Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 6-2, No. 7 Juan Martin del Potro defeating Russian veteran Nikolay Davydenko 7-5, 7-5, No. 11 Tommy Haas setting up a meeting with Roger Federer by defeating Spaniard Marcel Granollers 6-4, 6-1, and No. 12 Milos “The Missile” Raonic defeating Janko Tipsarevic 6-4, 7-6(4).

All-unseeded highlights were Dmitry Tursunov ending the run of American James Blake 6-4, 6-4, and David Goffin edging Canadian Vasek “Popsicle” Pospisil 7-5, 1-6, 7-6(6).

Several top seeds escaped in three-setters on the women’s side Wednesday, including world No. 1 Serena Williams who recovered her composure to defeat Canadian Eugenie Bouchard 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.

“It was just some crazy tennis out there today,” Williams said. “It was just really different conditions than last week in Toronto — I always forget it’s so different here. So it probably took me a while to get used to it…There’s a reason [Bouchard] won Wimbledon juniors. There’s a reason she did well at Wimbledon this year. She’s flying up the rankings, and it’s because she’s really good.”

In the nightcap on stadium, No. 5 seed and defending champion Li Na needed to come from a set down to defeat American Lauren Davis 4-6, 6-1, 6-1.

Failing to escape the upset bug were No. 8 seed Marion Bartoli who lost to Romanian Simona Halep 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, and No. 16 Maria Kirilenko who fell to German Mona Barthel 6-4, 6-4. Barthel will next meet the world No. 1 Williams.

Afterwards Bartoli announced her retirement from tennis, saying she no longer had the drive to play.

“That was the last match of my career,” said the tearful 2013 Wimbledon champion in her post-match conference. “I feel it’s time to walk away now.”

Other Top 10-seeded winners were No. 4 Aggie Radwanska, No. 6 Sara Errani in three over Polona Hercog, No. 7 Petra Kvitova in three over Marina Erakovic, No. 9 Angie Kerber, and No. 10 Caroline Wozniacki.

Thursday highlights in Cincy include (1) Novak Djokovic vs. (Q) David Goffin, (5) Roger Federer vs. (11) Tommy Haas, (4) Rafael Nadal vs. Grigor Dimitrov, (1) Serena Williams vs. Mona Barthel, Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez vs. (7) Juan Martin Del Potro, (14) Jelena Jankovic vs. Sloane Stephens, (7) Petra Kvitova vs. (10) Caroline Wozniacki, (12) Milos Raonic vs. John Isner, (6) Tomas Berdych vs. Tommy Robredo, and (9) Angelique Kerber vs. (5) Na Li.

CENTER COURT start 11:00 am
M Rybarikova (SVK) vs [2] V Azarenka (BLR) – WTA
Not Before 1:00 PM
[1] N Djokovic (SRB) vs [Q] D Goffin (BEL) – ATP
[5] R Federer (SUI) vs [11] T Haas (GER) – ATP
Not Before 7:00 PM
G Dimitrov (BUL) vs [4] R Nadal (ESP) – ATP
Not Before 9:00 PM
[1] S Williams (USA) vs M Barthel (GER) – WTA

GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
F Lopez (ESP) vs [7] J Del Potro (ARG) – ATP
[14] J Jankovic (SRB) vs S Stephens (USA) – WTA
J Benneteau (FRA) vs [2] A Murray (GBR) – ATP
[7] P Kvitova (CZE) vs [10] C Wozniacki (DEN) – WTA
Not Before 7:00 PM
[11] S Stosur (AUS) vs S Halep (ROU) – WTA
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) vs J Chardy (FRA) / R Gasquet (FRA) – ATP

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61 Comments for Nadal Surges, Serena Struggles, Bartoli Retires from Tennis

Anna Says:

What!!!! She wins Wimbledon and then retires. That’s crazy. There must be more to this story. Poor Marion has always been a bit of a basket case, but I thought with her new coach and improved tennis and Wimbledon in the bag she’d make a real run up the rankings. Can’t even wait till the finals. Too bad.

Steve 27 Says:

Marion, je veux vos mauvaises extrémités de chance et vous rencontrerez avec vous, félicitations pour sa victoire à Wimbledon et au revoir. Allez!

Hamza Says:

I hope it’s a decision taken in haste thus leaving room for a reversal. A career ending in such a way just doesn’t feel right. Then again, she would know what’s right for her. All the best to Marion.

Dan Martin Says:

I have my ATP and WTA picks up today at – Shocked about Bartoli, but if she is sure I am happy for her. Today’s slate of matches are awesome.

Michael Says:

Rafa is looking in ominous form and he will be the man to beat here.

Polo Says:

“Poor” is not a word that applies to Bartoli. And neither is “basket case”. What she has accomplished is not something to snicker at. She has done excellently with what she has. Good luck to her on her retirement.

James Says:

“The speed of the court is not exactly the same. It’s a little bit slower here than in Montreal.”

The clay court specialist is up to his old tricks again. He’s slowing down the Cincy courts, considered the fastest surface in the world by many fans. Who can forget how he’d slowed down the Wimbledon center court to win his first title there in 2008. He’ll be difficult to stop now, no?

On more serious note, it would be wonderful if Rafa goes on to win the title at Cincinnati. I’m going to be one of the first few to say he’s now a favorite to win the US Open, along with Novak and Murray.

James Says:

I don’t know if this was the right time for Marion to call it quits, but if that’s what she’s decided I wish her all the best in her post pro tennis life. I’m glad she’s going out as a Wimbledon (GS) champion.

metan Says:

James, at 8.59am,

Don’t tell me that this is explicit words to say that I am going to bite the cup. Sounds pretty good, no.☺

James Says:


I don’t know. Let’s hope he gets to bite the trophy in Cincinnati :)

josh Says:

Kind of shocked that Bartoli retired. I guess she wanted to go out winning Wimbledon. But, also maybe mentally she just couldn’t do it anymore against the top tier players. Sounds like it took a toll on her body too.

Nirmal Kumar Says:

Last time I had seen Roger play his best tennis was in Cincy 2012. Hope he restarts his best form again in this tournament. Though I have low hopes for him this year, he could just get better results than the 1st half of the year and more importantly show some shot making which is missing in his matches recently.

the DA Says:

It’s a bit of a horror show at the moment. Not to take anything away from Haas but Fed is off. The crowd are even stunned into silence. A little sad to see.

RZ Says:

^ Just saw one of the tennis bloggers post this Tweet: “Fed’s a mess”

I knew Haas could pull an upset but 5-1 early lead is not what I expected.

the DA Says:

Haas played a dismal game and gifted the break back to his buddy. Federer started to play better just in time to snatch the 2nd set. Haas was getting angrier and losing his cool in that set.

the DA Says:

The great escape! Federer makes it through. And he better hope that Dimitrov takes out Nadal because on this form….

Krishna Says:

It is over..Fed wins :) .

skeezer Says:

Vanos Fed! Hehe…

Brando Says:

These tough matches can benefit Fed.

He was losing these a couple of weeks ago so as pretty as it didn’t look: I wouldn’t throw in the towel on his chances just yet.

He needs to take it a match at a time IMO: have no goals except one: to improve on each passing match, regardless of the result.

I reckon Fed will be a very interesting train to board this year. Some wacky times for sure.

the DA Says:

Meanwhile on Grandstand Andy is up a double break.

Brando Says:

@the DA:

I really fancy Andy to win this thing after his first match. The double break seems like he is keeping that positive incline going for this tourny so far.

the DA Says:

@ Brando – Shhh…let’s not jinx him ;) But I agree that he’s playing a lot better. Don’t forget he might get Berdy in the QF. Often close, always uncomfortable.

James Says:

Happy for Roger! Vamos Fed!
Now let’s hope his Spanish friend also wins so we get a Fedal showdown on what many consider to be the fastest court in the world. Should suit Fed’s game.

Josh39485 Says:

@James Great names, but I fear there may only be one likely outcome. Just hope it’s competitive (assuming Nadal beats Dimitrov tomorrow morning)

RZ Says:

Glad that Fed pulled that one off, but at the same time I’m sad that Haas couldn’t pull the upset. Hate it when two of my favorite players face off early in a tournament.

the DA Says:

Andy already up a break in the 2nd. Cruising.

On a worrisome note, someone watching Rafa practice tweeted that he looks a little ill. He is stopping frequently and leaning against the fence. Hope it’s nothing too serious.

Brando Says:

@the DA:

Checked up on that Rafa thing you mentioned.

Could it be some stomach issue (food poisoning maybe?).

Did not see any thing major mentioned- thankfully.

I hope he’s fine.

the DA Says:

Well well. Andy completely dismantled Benneteau 6-2 6-2. Again, the returning was exceptional. I’ll even dare to say he’s starting to find some form.

Looking forward to Rafa/Dimi.

the DA Says:

@ Brando – I’ve seen theories ranging from food poisoning to flu. I don’t know what to think now. We’ll see soon enough.

James Says:

@Josh, if Nadal wins his match against Dimitrov, it’s going to be a big challenge for him to beat Federer on this fast surface. I hope it’s a good contest.

Brando Says:

@the DA:

Yeah, hoping we’ll see him on court.

Should he play i’ll take that as a positive sign.

Thankfully it seems to be a minor issue: and he did say post Becker match that his knee is fine and hopefully behind him as an issue.

I hope he’s perfectly fine since as a Rafa fan (and I think I speak for most on this point):

fit and well Rafa > results

rafaeli Says:

DA, could you post your sources re Rafa’s ailments? I haven’t seen any mention of it anywhere.

the DA Says:

@ rafaeli – I saw from someone called Janina ‏@JLR78. She was watching his practice and tweeted the following:

“Rafael not feeling 100%? Keeps leaning over and even against the wall. Not smiling much either.”

That was the first one, then others jumped in with their theories.

rafaeli Says:

Well, we’ve got just over an hour to find out.

rafaeli Says:

DA, I think it’s a hoax; other people who were at his practice session saw nothing unusual according to VB.

the DA Says:

Apparently, Andy went straight out to Center Court after his match to hit more balls. #dedication

rafaeli Says:

Andy needs to practice. His opponents have short changed him by handing him the matches on a plate.

the DA Says:

@rafaeli – We’ll find out soon.

rafaeli Says:

Rafa is on court looking fit and healthy to me.

metan Says:

Vamos Fed just got trough, we’ll see who will be his partner across the nett tomorrow. Feeling like Wimby 2008,no. Congratulation ! You must be happy

the DA Says:

Dimi forces a decider.

queen Says:

What the hell!!! Rafa get back to business!!!

metan Says:

Vamos Rafa!!!! Great match. What a champhion.
Waiting for fedalwar tomorrow.

Ben Pronin Says:

This is not what we came for. This is not what we want.

Brando Says:

Vamos Rafa!

Good match by him: ONLY flaw was those 2 service games, and really they were self inflicted losses.

Can tighten up there.

Otherwise a sharp match v a talented young player and the perfect prep for Federer.

Bummer that i’ll miss Fedal and Cincy weekend but anyhow play nice all, speak to you soon and oh yeah:


James Says:

Finally we get another Fedal post Wimby after so long. Going in the match Federer isn’t in his best form but he’s still the 5 time champion on the fast courts of Cincinnati. He’s always done well in this tournament. Nadal on the other hand has never reached the final here. I give a slight edge to Roger maybe 55-45. I hope Rafa can play his best tomorrow against Roger. Hopefully a good entertaining match.

Ben Pronin Says:

James, be real. Are you Rafa? Don’t downplay his chances just so that you can gloat after. Nadal is the heavy heavy favorite. Doesn’t matter how many times Federer won in the past. Current form is all that matters. Federer will be fortunate to make one set competitive.

Polo Says:

It’s a given, Federer could not beat Nadal. He could not even do it in his prime. If Federer wins, it would be almost like a miracle. I would be ecstatic but I know it would not happen, not at this stage in their careers. I have reached that point where what I find more interesting is a Nadal-Djokovic-Murray match in any combination.

Giles Says:

Vamos Rafa!!

James Says:

Ben, no I’m not Rafa. Just trying to be like him. No seriously, if Roger serves well, he has a good chance. Rafa looked beatable today against Grigor esp in the 2nd set. But then Roger didn’t play that well himself, did he?
And no, I don’t enjoy seeing Rafa beat Roger anymore. It just doesn’t feel the same anymore. The fast courts in Cincy might suit his game more than Rafa’s though. So I hope it’s a good match from both players. I don’t mind seeing Roger beat Rafa one more time but I hope not at Cincinnati, not just a week before the US Open.

James Says:

Oh just saw on Facebook that Serena could be on her way to her first Cincy title! I’m surprised Serena has never won this tournament. Wow! Maybe she’ll win it this time.

Humble Rafa Says:

Why are the courts so damn fast in Cincy. It should be used for racing, not tennis.

skeezer Says:

“It’s a given, Federer could not beat Nadal. He could not even do it in his prime”

C’mon man! WTF?

WTF Says:

All credit to Bartoli for winning Wimbledon, but let’s face it. Lisicki did her a massive favor in taking out Serena for her, then wilting away in her first GS final.

skeezer Says:

Ben agree @ 9:55

metan Says:

On the paper , it seems difficult for Roger to beat Rafa. But Miracle do happen from time to time and I believe it since we all don’t have crystal ball.

metan Says:

To Rafa fans,

Do you prefer Rafa meets Nole at final or non final for incoming us open. Based on the percentage winning Rafa has is 8 @38% in the final and 11 non final 52%(semi, quarter, and robin).

Any input or thought???

Steve 27 Says:

who cares Fedal, I wait for Narray!

skeezer Says:


It is just that some fans stretch the truth or lie when Fed is down or old. Like Fed never beat Nadal in his prime? Fed gave some smackdowns of Rafa, even after 30, but some have short or ignorant memory capacity.

James Says:

@skeezer, It was a big achievement for Rafa to beat Roger at Wimbledon in 2008 and AO in 2009. That should tell you something. It was very difficulty to win against Fed in his prime as he was clearly very dominant against the field. Except the 2008 FO final, Fedal matches were always very competitive, even on clay. Roger’s one of the few players that bagelled Nadal on clay! It was only when Roger grew older and somewhat lost his confidence against Rafa that their matches became very one-sided. So, it’s wrong to say Fed in his prime couldn’t beat Rafa because he did hand him some heavy defeats. Sure, Rafa was always leading the rivalry right from the beginning, but as a Rafa fan I also remember his defeats against Roger.

skeezer Says:

^Thanks James!

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