Federer v Tsonga, Nadal v Ferrer; Monte Carlo QF Picks And Pans
by Sean Randall | April 17th, 2014, 6:55 pm
  • 203 Comments

I can’t recall the Top 4 claycourt players having it this easy through two rounds of matches at a Masters Series event. But that’s been the case thus far at Monte Carlo this week.

King of Clay Rafael Nadal lost nine games.

Roger Federer lost just eight.

Stan Wawrinka played just one match losing only two.

And defending champion Novak Djokovic dropped a mere two in two matches.

But easy street should come end this weekend, and perhaps even on Friday when the quarterfinals get underway. Though the foursome will be favored heavily to advance to the semis.

Nadal has his sights set on a ninth Monte Carlo title, and tomorrow he’ll face longtime friend and countryman David Ferrer. The pick is easy. Nadal has won 21 of 26 meetings against the Spaniard, and that trend should continue in straight sets.

“David is a tough, tough player on any surface,” quipped Nadal after winning his 30th straight match on clay defeating Andreas Seppi. “But here on clay, it’s always a big challenge. I have played a lot of matches against him, very tough ones. If you are not at your top, top level, it is very difficult to win. I need to be ready for that.”


Seeking a first title, Federer faces the hot-and-cold JW Tsonga. The Frenchman celebrated his 29th birthday Thursday by finally breaking out of a season-long funk with a decent win today over Fabio Fognini 5-7, 6-3, 6-0. The not so fabulous Fognini was booed off the court after losing the last eight games of the match without much effort.

After a tough start to 2014, Tsonga will take it. But he’s just 4-10 against Federer and Roger wants revenge for that French loss. And thus far, Federer has looked the better of the two this week and he should beat Tsonga in straights.

“I didn’t play a very good match against him at the French last year,” said Federer after a win over Lukas Rosol. “That was a bit of a disaster for me. On the other side, I played a really good match against him in the Australian this year. So I’m kind of excited to see what’s going to happen this time around. I think Jo played the semis here last year, so he’s played here well in the past. I have to make sure I play aggressive myself and not become too passive just because we’re on clay.”

Federer’s countryman Wawrinka is also enjoying the clay and the clay is making it easy on him. The Aussie champ got a walkover today from Nicolas Almagro who’s nursing a bad foot. So with only a very strong hammering of Marin Cilic, Stan moves on to the quarters to face Milos Raonic who impressively blew out Tommy Robredo 6-4, 6-3

“Against Stan I’ve struggled in the past, but I think it’s different this time around,” Raonic said. “I feel like I’m doing a lot of things well and I’m looking forward to that challenge.”

Stan’s never lost to Raonic in two prior meetings and on the clay I have to take the Swiss in three.

In the last match of the day, Djokovic continues his torrid run at his second home – as I said he’s lost just two games in two matches! – by playing his third straight Spaniard in Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. G-Lo is having a good rebound this year and he just beat an ailing Tomas Berdych in three. But Novak’s the easy pick in this one.

“Lost only two games in the first two matches. Can’t be better than this, for sure,” said Djokovic after his 12th straight win. “I don’t want to get carried away. I am confident on the court. I’m coming off a great American hard court season. I want to keep that going.”

“Another clay court specialist, another match which I approach with an aggressive mindset in terms of game plan,” said Djokovic. “I have already great variety in the game, which is one of the key components for an optimal success on this surface. You need to be able to play equally well defensively and offensively. That’s something I was doing quite well in the first two rounds.”

If the predictions hold we will indeed get the Top 4 in the semis. That said, if there’s going to be a upset it would be either Tsonga, who could get hot, or Raonic who could blow serve Stan off the court.

Tennis Channel has the matches starting early at 4:30am ET. That’s 1:30am PT! Luckily they should have a re-air later in the day for folks like me who need their sleep!

FRIDAY MONTE CARLO SCHEDULE
COURT CENTRAL start 10:30 am
[3] S Wawrinka (SUI) vs [8] M Raonic (CAN)
[1] R Nadal (ESP) vs [6] D Ferrer (ESP)
[9] J Tsonga (FRA) vs [4] [WC] R Federer (SUI)
G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) vs [2] N Djokovic (SRB)


Also Check Out:
Federer Reverses Monte Carlo Decision, Will Take On Nadal
ATP Monte Carlo QF Picks: Punter Alert
Streaks That Ended After Rafael Nadal Lost To David Ferrer Today In Monte Carlo [Chart]
Nadal Steamrolls into Monte Carlo SFs, Ferrer Next
Djokovic Withdraws From Monte Carlo

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203 Comments for Federer v Tsonga, Nadal v Ferrer; Monte Carlo QF Picks And Pans

James Says:

I think Raonic beats Stan this time.
Djokovic finally gets a decent opponent. No more bagels from him, but he’ll still win in straight sets.
Nadal to defeat Ferrer in straights again. Federer in 2 against Tsonga who is yet to play as good as he did at RG last year.


Ben Pronin Says:

I don’t see why Djokovic can’t bagel Garcia-Lopez. He’s terrible.


James Says:

Garcia-Lopez may be terrible but is in good form after winning Casablanca. It’s a Masters quarter final and Djokovic is yet to play a top 20-30 player.

The other matches should be good. The Wawrinka-Raonic one could be the match of the day.


skeezer Says:

Rafa’ s comments about Ferrer is so BS. David is a tough player for him on any surface? LMAO! Rafa always trying to put himself in the “poor me” “nearly impossible” and “always difficult” role. Why? He can’t handle bein on top. He only flourshes when he’s chasin’.
Here is a clue;
That don’t sell no more.
Rafa will hand Daveed another classic beatdown on Clay. No matter how much he tries to hype this matchup here is one of kany tennis fans that ain’t watchin…..why?
Not ever buyin a ticket for this one.
Sorry Rafa, you hypin the matchup for viewers is BS bigtime.


Dc Says:

Ferrer looks really sharp.he seems to have vengeance in his eyes and looks like a man on a mission.Nadal needs to be careful.
Ferrer in straight sets against nadal.


Hippy Chic Says:

Milos against Stan should be quite interesting,and Stan has loked good this week,same with Roger and Joes blowing hot and cold,Nole to school GLO,Rafa beats David in two possibly 3 tight sets still JMO….


Hippy Chic Says:

Rafa doesnt take any opponent lightly,and Daveed has always played him pretty close in the past,he beat Rafa at Beijing last year so these things happen,and i bet nobody believed he would lose to Rosol or Darcis at Wimbledon yet he did,but then again who knew?isnt that why they go out and play the matches?still what do i know as im just one of those airhead Rafafanatics,whos the lowest common denominator?


Hippy Chic Says:

I cannot blog today as i am working,so just to let people know this is not me bailing out on Rafa if he loses,as real life sometimes gets in the way of ones love of the beautiful game,BTW nice picture of Roger,i always have liked that particular picture,it reminds me of when i was little as i used to do the same thing to my dad on the beach on holiday….


Okiegal Says:

David is very capable of beating Rafa. I suppose he should tell the whole world that he will have no problem with David……and David might as well not show up…….It makes no difference what Rafa says it’s always the wrong thing. Afa


ertorque Says:

James, I think when Ben says he’s terrible, he meant Novak. Or am I mistaken?


contador Says:

One can always hope for Daveed. However….Wawrinka showed us, at AO vs Nole and Rafa, that he is indeed the man.

The tests for Stan are: can Stan do it again? on clay?? Against Federer too? He showed poor Milos who is boss. Time for Stan to get a Masters 1000 on clay? I don’t know. Right now I feel like maybe Stan can make things interesting again – but have to see it to believe it.


contador Says:

I was thinking the amped up G-Lo might stand a chance to make it tight for Nole. hehehe…nope. Ben and Tennis Vagabond were right!

Devastating Djokovic rides again :D

Boss it , Nole!


Okiegal Says:

Some beautiful clay court tennis from the two Spaniards…….clay……definitely their cup of tea. Rafa is in for the fight of his life, just as I figured. David is a tough opponent.

VAMOS RAFA

#watchthespeedlimit


Okiegal Says:

TIEBREAKER…….eek!!


Okiegal Says:

TIEBREAKER……..ugly!!


Okiegal Says:

I don’t know if Rafa is serving well enough today to turn this thing around!

VAMOS RAFA!!


Gordon Says:

My goodness are these two guys playing lights out tennis.

I don’t blame those who predicted Rafa in straight sets, cause look at the track record, but Ferrer deserves a pile of respect, no matter how this match ends.


Okiegal Says:

@Gordon

Not looking too pretty for my guy at the moment. I was fearful of this match up for Rafa. The tennis has been great to watch, however. David is playing awesome. Rafa breaking and getting broke…..that’s tennis!


contador Says:

Okiegal,

If you look at their H2H, 21-5 to Rafa, you will be reminded that the last time Daveed beat Rafa on clay was in 2004, a whole decade ago!

Daveed may be great on clay but in the end, he is still the peasant when facing the king of clay. This would be Unbelievable if he could win. Is he tired of being the whipping boy? Or…

Keeping one eye on the score line while getting ready for work. Rafa will win …or,,,tank alert Center Court?? lol..


contador Says:

Nadal looks “flat” says the commentator, and adds, “he just needs that one shot to light a fire…”


contador Says:

No time like the present to end a long losing streak on clay, Daveed.


Okiegal Says:

@Contador

I started to post a moment ago….”Is Rafa tanking?”
But thought against it…..you can always depend on someone on this forum to say it for you. LOL I would be kidding, of course. I guess I’m being pessimistic, but I don’t think Rafa will pull this one out. He is just not finding the lines today. I think he’s made some poor shot choices too. Oh, well, Que sera sera!!


Daniel Says:

Wow, just woke up beggining of second set, Nadal’s BH is awfull, short and no confidemce when trying to change directions DTL. Plus this is the deepest I sew Ferrer play Nadal on clay. Maybe because he is playing short.


contador Says:

@ Okiegal

No time like the present to end a winning streak on clay for Rafa. Better to lose now than to someone else ; )

Rafa is not afraid of ‘someone else’ Rafa is smart, Tactical, and strategic .


Kimmi Says:

Rafa is out of sorts. Too many errors. Can ferrer take advantage?


James Says:

I’m glad skeezer isn’t watching this match ;)


John Says:

Can Ferrer really do it? Or is the tank-engine rolling in!


Okiegal Says:

@Skeezer

I definitely know one thing for sure….Rafa knows more about David’s game than you do! Lol David serving for the match……yuck!!


contador Says:

Ferrer is going to choke on it.


Daniel Says:

Ferrer better break again to close because if he serves for the match again….


Okiegal Says:

Whew, Rafa broke him! Vamos……an ace…more of those please!!


Kimmi Says:

I have a feeling ferrer will choke it.


contador Says:

Hey Kimmi :D *waves*


contador Says:

Yup, break point Nadal.


Grand Slam Says:

Ferrer serving again for the match! Is he really going to choke this again?


Kimmi Says:

Hi contador, watching the match in bed. Can ferrer?


contador Says:

Skeezer!! wake up! Been a decade since Ferru won on clay vs the King of Clay… Ferry will try to break back ….let’s see…


contador Says:

I duunnoo, Kimmi! Rafa presented him with a gift to serve for the match… did not take it.


Kimmi Says:

so tense! match point


contador Says:

Okay a match point ferru


Kimmi Says:

Error on the net. ferrer is done it. who would have thought it.


Grand Slam Says:

And Feru did it!!!! Wow good for him to stop faltering to Rafa!!!!


contador Says:

hahahahaaa

omg

Nice to see you here, Kimmi! I must get to work now. Let’s watch a match together here when you have time… ciao!


Kimmi Says:

only 3 defeat in 11 years..unbelievable.


Kimmi Says:

see you and have a good day conty.


Mr. Larvey Says:

Didn’t see that one coming. During US Masters I thought that Rafa had still everything under control even if he didn’t play that great. But losing Ferrer on Monte Carlo! That’s not a good sign for Nadal. Basically Ferrer outplayed Nadal from the baseline on clay, which is something that no one has for a decade.


James Says:

Nadal likely to lose his #1 ranking by French Open.


tweener Says:

Oh God! rafa’s door-mat dispatched rafa in straights. HR, whr are you?


Colin Says:

And another set of predictions bites the dust…

Maybe Rafa wasn’t exhibiting false modesty after all, in his pre-match comments. Maybe he knew more than the public.


the DA Says:

What was skeezer saying above? ;P That was a gutsy win from Ferru – he played awesomely. Rafa, not so much. 44 UFEs. Almost unheard of on clay for him. Still, Ferru deserved the win. There’s a tremor in the force but it’s still early in the clay season.


Okiegal Says:

Hats off to David!! Great playing today from him. If Rafa had to lose, glad it was by David. I like him too. Rafa, get some rest and be ready for FO…that’s the one I want…..bad!!

I believe the time situation unnerved Rafa and his game. I know it’s a rule and so does he, but when he rushes his serve, he just doesn’t do as well imo.
I don’t know if he practices that or not…..but he should!

#sleeveshirtsplz


Gordon Says:

Oh! My! Goodness!

Let me say it before Nadal does in the post game interview -

Da-veed; he play… ahnbelievable, no?

Mr. Ferrer has earned a lot of respect today. His game plan of going to Nadal’s backhand constantly worked.

It’s matches like this that make us realize there are no certainties; even when Rafa steps onto clay.

You have to think the Wawrinka-Ferrer semi should be entertaining.


Mr. Larvey Says:

Stan vs. Fed in the finals? That would be great. Thou, difficult to see Nole losing.


Okiegal Says:

I have lost all respect for Skeezer and his tennis knowledge……He don’t know crap!! Lol

Commentators talking about Rafa losing #1 ranking, I don’t care if he does. I think Rafa plays better when he’s ranked lower…..jmo.

Vamos, Rafa, win lose or draw, you will always be the KOC!!


Ben Pronin Says:

I can’t fault skeezer for saying what he did. I don’t think anyone saw this coming. Ferrer was a huge underdog in this match. But 44 errors? Over 2 sets? Is that even possible?


mat4 Says:

It seems that Rafa was very nervous: more than 40 UE is absolutely unbelievable for him.

But kudos to Ferrer who played well. For one moment, I thought he was going to crumble under the circumstances — at 5-2 in the second set — but he managed to muster his inner demons this time, and courageously won.


van orten Says:

rafa was injured !!! no way he loses without injury on clayyyy


mat4 Says:

I do think that Wawrinka is a real contender for the title here: he plays very well on clay, and has the power to hit through any opponent on any surface. He also has an efficient serve, even on clay.


mat4 Says:

Meanwhile, some excellent tennis by Jo and Fed.


Daniel Says:

Slice Tennis,

Seems the triple 9 is not going to happen. 1 of the three already gone. Last chance Barcelona e RG.

Nadal desperately need Barcelona now to have some confidence boost. Another big tourney gone by and he didn’t won the title.
This could be Fed chance to win MC if he passes Tsonga and Djoko. Interesting a clay tourney without Nadal in later rounds. Chance for all of them.


Gordon Says:

Rafa better than Roger and the other trolls will vanish for the better part of a week now.

I am patiently waiting to see Humble Rafa’s exit post though…


Grand Slam Says:

Nobody talking about Fed Tsonga match!!!! Interesting turn of events. Tsonga is 4:2 up and serving!!!! Fed serve is not working today. I hope Fed scrambles a win here today…….


Grand Slam Says:

Chance to get the break back….. Knowing Joe’s mental issues he will probaby gifted away….


van orten Says:

roger doin tank job i see ..


skeezer Says:

Well eat my hat. Daveeeed!
Why did I post that? According to rafanatics who claim h2h is everything, he shoulda woulda beat Daveed, with a 17-4 record, on his most very fav surface, no?(no problem, nobody beats an injured Rafa, no? LMAO)
I also find it interesting how the 30 and older crowd are winning big matches and titles against the supposedly “strong era” that doesn’t appear as strong, no?
—-
Tsonga Fed match is a match worth watchin. Great stuff from Tsonga so far.


van orten Says:

9 break points ???? godddd


skeezer Says:

0/10! Ugh.


van orten Says:

forget it folks ,today is again a day where roger refuses to take his chances . tsonga in 2


van orten Says:

expect roger to be broken the very next service game


El_Flaco Says:

Vamos!


skeezer Says:

van orten,
I hought so too. Tsonga did have break point on him. Fed pulled it out but it seems he is having a hard tme hitting through Tsonga today. Thus at times he is over hitting.
Fed just called code violation for cursing into the medeterranean, lol.


Okiegal Says:

@Gordon

Okiegal is present and accounted for. Am I considered a troll?


El_Flaco Says:

Fed’s got a major bout of Federitis today.(0-10 on break pts)


Giles Says:

Tsonga on song. He isn’t even a good clay courter.


Grand Slam Says:

Well he is today!!!!


Grand Slam Says:

If Fed breaks here he will run with this set! MUST BREAK HERE


skeezer Says:

Fed is in a frustrating mood today. Maybe 0/10 has somethimg to do with it. Would me! If he converted just half of those BP’s would be a different match were watching.


Ben Pronin Says:

On the contrary, Tsonga is quite good on clay. He knows how to move competently on the surface and the slow bounce gives him time to really rip his shots. And he’s doing it today. This tournament could be a real turnaround moment for him. After missing 4 months with injury he’s been struggling to regain his form lately but he’s played well so far. The young guys still suck so Tsonga has enough time in his career to make something, anything, happen.


van orten Says:

boys all due respect to jo willy. but i dont think he is playing so well. he just has luck that fed is not breaking him at all today.. 0/11 this is by far the worst i have seen from fed . wow wow wow


Ben Pronin Says:

Fognini also missed a zillion break point chances against Tsonga in the previous round and ended up imploding. I don’t know how much it has to do with Tsonga being clutch, though. Federer had a second serve on that BP and just chipped it. That’s poor on Fed’s part.


Grand Slam Says:

Well Tsonga is well known to give the top dogs a run for their money regardless of what surface we are talking about! Good to see him back in form! But let’s be honest Fed is far from his best today! I cannot believe how he performs in cycles… Frustrates me because we all know what kind of mean tennis machine he can be…


Okiegal Says:

Is that Tsonga’ s girlfriend the camera’s keep zeroing in on? If so, she is gorgeous. He is looking good today, but can’t count out Feddy bear ever!!


Daniel Says:

Let’s see if Fed can force a tiebreak for more drama.


van orten Says:

0/13 ???????? come on this is comedy


Daniel Says:

Last time Nadal went undefeated on clay was 2010 and he didn’t play Barcelona that year. Seems we won’t see utter dominance from him on the turf again. He will turn 28 this May. Father time is relentless and more bad days arrive, starting to oscilate level of play. It’s still just one tournament but this was exactly like what happen to Fed. First ou star losung finals you didn’t lose. Than start losing to players you just don’t lose and so on.


van orten Says:

0/13 cannot believe that stat.. wow wow wow. why doesnt he try something else on bp. why not just goin for a shot . it does not matter anyways. what a bad performance


Grand Slam Says:

I think it is early to say that about Nadal! The clay season just started and I am certain he will come back! This is his favorite surface and his playground. The think is that one cannot dominate in anything forever it is just not possible! Every dominance has a beginning but also has an end! I am not saying that this is the end of Nadal’s dominance, but it may be the beginning of his slow decline which is only normal for tennis players.


Grand Slam Says:

Yes vo I’ve seen better days from Fed! But you never know here we have a tie break and time to see and be convinced if Tsonga’s clutch play is for real….


Grand Slam Says:

Tsonga’s clutch play is just being put on the line as fed is taking over the dominance of this tie break


Giles Says:

He lost a match on clay and here they are talking about a “slow decline”. Give it a rest already.


Ben Pronin Says:

Wow what a pathetic display from Federer on those set points.


van orten Says:

hahahaahhha he screwed 2 set points on serve goddd rogerrrrrrr


Ben Pronin Says:

Wow what an angry point from Federer on that set point. Looks like we’re going 3. This is pretty exciting.


skeezer Says:

Amazing. Fed has tied this up with 0/13 BP chances in games played. Geez!!! The one and only.


Grand Slam Says:

But he won the set and that is what counts! We are so used to brilliance from Fed that we need sometimes to learn to appreciate when he wins and not playing well. With all due respect to Tsonga, now I am convinced it is not his clutch play, it is Fed’s erratic play…. On to the third and may the best man win as I have to go to a meeting!!!!


Josh Says:

Fed screwed himself over, but he did just enough to win that set. Much needed


Okiegal Says:

Roger’s nemesis didn’t make it through, or should I say the Fed beater……let’s see if the older guy can go three sets and get the “W”……I say he can!


Ben Pronin Says:

That’s what it takes to break Tsonga, I guess.


mat4 Says:

1 og 16…


skeezer Says:

Great defense by the Maestro, and, finally wins a BP!lol.


Hippy Chic Says:

Congrats to Daveed,i didnt see the match,but going by everybodys reaction he was a worthy winner,agree with both Daniel and Grand Slam in that the law of averages is catching up with Rafa,hes losing to players he doesnt usually lose to Stan,David,Dolgo,still no disgace when you think of what hes achieved especially on clay,early days yet i suppose but i will just accept what happens from here on in for the rest of the year,and enjoy seeing whatever unfolds?


Okiegal Says:

Start the mo-ped, the Frenchman is going home!!


Josh Says:

1/16 on BPs. Let’s be fair to Tsonga though, most of those he fended off brilliantly


Slice Tennis Says:

Federer normally picks up his level when Rafa goes out early or doesn’t play in a tourney.
Fed is now the favourite to lift MC.


Josh Says:

@Slice Tennis – maybe, but Djokovic?


mat4 Says:

It is interesting to see that Federer is still faster than Tsonga on clay, and I think that poor movement is Jo’s major weakness.

1 of 17…

… and patience. His game on clay — although he has the big forehand required to win titles on this surface — is without any sense.

2 of 18.


skeezer Says:

Wow wheels came off for Tsonga there. Up comfortably @40-0, gets broken by Fed. 4-0.


Okiegal Says:

@Chic

Watched all of it and David played fantastic today. I too know from here on out of what is left of our guy’s career, he will falter here and there. I’m resigned to that fact……but that’s the sport, no?

The old guy has this one in the bag!


Okiegal Says:

Joker will lift the trophy, imo!


Grand Slam Says:

Do you mean this match or you were refering to the title Okiegal?


Josh Says:

Has Novak played yet?


skeezer Says:

“Federer normally picks up his level when Rafa goes out early or doesn’t play in a tourney.”
LMAO. Knew the excuses would start coming out. Apparently you weren’t watching. Fed looked like he was going down against Tsonga easily early on.

Oh suuuuure!

#crock

—-

Mat4
Agreed.


van orten Says:

hahahha tsonga imploding what a match, heart attack stuff


Okiegal Says:

Nobody can beat Fed on a regular basis except for that pesky little Na-Doll!! Lol


Okiegal Says:

@Grand Slam

I think Joker will win the tournament, don’t you?


Giles Says:

Ben. You were saying? Tsonga……?


skeezer Says:

Great win Fed, and great patience. Tsonga looked and played great the first 2 sets. He always troubles Fed for the most part.


Giles Says:

Fed can win his first MC me thinks!


Slice Tennis Says:

“Nobody can beat Fed on a regular basis except for that pesky little Na-Doll!! Lol”

Very True.
Federer is an absolutely great player. Infact he is the second best among anyone to pick up a racquet ever.


Tally Ho Says:

Well, I would’ve lost my house on that Ferrer/Nadal match. I think Ferrer attacked Nadal’s backhand well, deep in the bottom right corner. Yes nadal didn’t play to his best but I think that was a lot to do with the way ferrer was playing.
Also, there’s a few people in the crowd the same color as the court…
Juicy semi-finals await


Grand Slam Says:

@ Okiegal,

Yes I do, but I would not bet on it as I still believe he was not tested…. if he gets a win today, he will face Fed and that is when he will be tested. Fed is always extra motivated when playing Nole! Not to mention what can happen on the other side of the draw with Stan/Feru with a shot to grab title…. furthermore, his wrist issues…


mat4 Says:

Tsonga didn’t implode. And some time in the match there was an interesting stat: Roger had served 34, Jo 68 times.

It showed that at this moment already, Jo was under great pressure on his serve — I don’t remember for certain, but he had saved 11 bp already. It was just a matter of time when Roger would break, and it was a bad omen for the ensuing TB.

Jo simply doesn’t know how to play on clay. He has a monstrous FH, a big flat BH, but he plays without any strategy, he can’t devise a plan to construct points, and when he doesn’t make all those low percentage points, he simply is without resources.

His match against Novak, last year, demonstrated how dangerous he can be when everything works well. Today, he showed his strong points (a big serve in big moments, wonderful shots when he is on the ball) and the complete array of weaknesses of his game.


Grand Slam Says:

So Nole is up! Let’s see if Garcia-Lopez will test Nole and give a good fight?


the DA Says:

Jo lost that match the moment he netted that FH at 6-6. That was an inexcusable collapse in the 3rd. And what was up with the 0-15 BPs? If Nole is next that won’t be good enough. In any case, based on today’s performance, I don’t rate his chances against the Djoker.


Grand Slam Says:

@mat4

Agreed!


mat4 Says:

When you watch Nadal, Djokovic, Federer at 20 and compare them with the game they play at their peak, you see that the major difference is shot selection. Jo almost didn’t change in this regard.


Slice Tennis Says:

Okiegal Says:
“I have lost all respect for Skeezer and his tennis knowledge……He don’t know crap!! Lol”

LMAO.
Great post Okie.
Anyone can claim to know everything about anything while posting anonymously in the internet. But we get to see their true colours quite often like this.


Gordon Says:

Okiegal – the trolls are the blind followers of 1 player, be it Nadal or Federer and there are a few Djokovic trolls as well, who go go beyond blind devotion of their hero and hurl insulting comments and vile idiocy towards the other top players. I do not count you as one of those.

When their guy is gone they usually vanish from here. Sometimes they hang until the players they bash are gone as well. Sometimes they look real bad when they drop prophetic moronic bombs that look really dumb when say – Federer has an off day but manages to come back to win.

Ferrer vs Wawrinka. Federer vs (probably) Djokovic

This is going to be interesting.


mat4 Says:

Unbelievable… From 40/0 to break.


Josh Says:

Guys, let’s not pencil in Novak’s name quite yet. 4-1 and a double break down in set 1. Come back, Novak!


Grand Slam Says:

I was right he was not tested!!!! So I agree with not penciling his Name in the Semis!!!! So far showing a poor display of tennis in this match, but Garcia-Lopez is no walk in the park today!


Hippy Chic Says:

Okiegal/Gordon strange as it may seem,i actually go the opposite way to some posters in that i blog more when my favorites are losing as i feel thats when they need my support all the more,when Rafa won the USO last year i blogged alot less likewise when Murray won Wimbledon,after all that emotional energy invested and hype over their wins,makes me feel like a break from it all,ridiculous as that may sound….


mat4 Says:

Novak has upped his game. But GGL is playing very well.


the DA Says:

lol, this has become freaky Friday. First Nadal loses in straight sets on clay, Federer gets a code violation for ball abuse and now Nole is 4-5 down vs GGL. It looks really murky out there. I bet they can’t finish this. Please Nole, don’t give Fed the gift of GGL in a SF.


Gordon Says:

When was the last time Rafa, Fed and Nole all lost their first set on the same day?

Of course what we don’t know yet is whether 2 of them came back to win their matches or if 2 of them lose.

We’ll know soon…


Josh Says:

1 set down :(


Ben Pronin Says:

This is so embarrassing.


the DA Says:

First set to GGL. Some uncharacteristic UFEs from Nole. GGL is solid, only 5 winners to Djokovic’s 8. He has to find the intensity soon.


mat4 Says:

It could be tense till the end. This is a wake-up call for Novak, and he has reacted but not well enough, although he puts a lot of pressure on GGL serve, but the Spaniard has kept his composure.

Let’s see what will happen.


mat4 Says:

This indeed is embarrassing.


mat4 Says:

Very poor shot selection…


skeezer Says:

Novak will settle in. He’s had many slow starts in matches. Lets see what he does here.


Josh Says:

GGL is playing very good percentage tennis – he recognizes that Novak has not been able to find the court that often so far.


mat4 Says:

We see now Novak’s main shortcoming on clay: he doesn’t make enough with his FH on shorter balls.


madmax Says:

Just spent my time scrolling through the posts and it’s a shock for me about nadal, no doubt about that. I put it down to a very ‘off day’. We all have them, don’t we? Who on this planet would every think that rafa wold have lost on clay. Certinaly not me. I would count him as winning on his favourite surface. He has looked great these last two rounds. Awesome in fact. So Skeezer’s comment was one that was not shocking in the slightest. Even Sean, (with about 10 million other punters would have bet their house that rafa would have taken down Ferrer). It’s an intelligent assumption to make, and no more than that, as Rafa will move on and most likely win the next clay tournament to make amends.

But, ST, my question to you:

Slice Tennis Says:
Federer normally picks up his level when Rafa goes out early or doesn’t play in a tourney.
Fed is now the favourite to lift MC.

April 18th, 2014 at 11:22 am

Federer would not even have known that rafa had lost his match. So, my question to you is, are you currently at Monte carlo or just making wild assumptions yet again?


mat4 Says:

Why so close to the lines, when his opponent is 10 feet behind the baseline?


mat4 Says:

And some exceptional tennis…


Hippy Chic Says:

WOW What a point,is Noles wrist bothering him have to ask though?


mat4 Says:

Alison, I think GGL is bothering him…


ertorque Says:

super Gracia! What a clay-courter. What retrieving and consistent hitting. Single BH, no problem


the DA Says:

GGL is a reliability bot – he just doesn’t miss – and he waits for Novak to pull the trigger. There have been some great rallies. I think until Nole starts to think clearly, he seems to be trying to break down GGL’s single-handed BH by playing to it as much as possible.


Gordon Says:

Madmax – I’m not answering for ST, but I interpreted his comment to mean that Rafa being gone will give Fed the extra will to win to beat Nole and then either/Wawa or Ferrer.


mat4 Says:

GGL is clearly playing better. A win would be very deserved.


Josh Says:

Key moment in the match right here.


mat4 Says:

Go Novak!


Grand Slam Says:

Looks like another upset waiting to happen! GL is playing great. Nole cannot find the court today. Looks like he is competing with Rafa in the UE Department!


mat4 Says:

Novak should have won this game by now. He feels so much pressure to finish points with his FH that he started to finish points with his FH… by missing.


Josh Says:

break to Novak!


mat4 Says:

Is this the end of the beginning (to quote the commentator), or the beginning of the end? A break, finally!


skeezer Says:

BHDTL. Earns the break.


mat4 Says:

I feel a bit better. But a vodka could help still…


Grand Slam Says:

Oh Boy how nice of Nole to finally wake up!!!!


Hippy Chic Says:

Mat4 nah cider :))….


skeezer Says:

BHDTL doing some major damage. My fav shot of Nole’s.

Btw, with Feds win today it is his 50th Masters semi final. Amazing.


mat4 Says:

He didn’t really wake up. GGL played an awesome set and a half of tennis, defending every inch of the court, absorbing the pace, and countering effectively. Novak found his BHDTL in key moments, but the match is far from over.


Tennishook Says:

This will be a 6-2 to Novak in the third


Grand Slam Says:

@mat4,

You are probably right! Let’s hope GL will keep on putting the pressure so we have a great 3rd set!


Josh Says:

Break again. Good signs :)


Tennishook Says:

GGL played very well, but this is what Novak does best. Hang in there, working through it, figuring it out and then pounce. Would be very surprised if GGL gets another 3 games


mat4 Says:

Oh, for me a great third set is a bagel by Novak…


Josh Says:

It’s clear what the turning point was: 4-6, 3-3, 15-40 (2 BP)


Tennishook Says:

Let’s rejoice the fact we get another Nole-Fed match. In a semi of Masters 1000. Good times. Nice to see how it goes on clay, they haven’t had many clay matches. Should be a cracker.


mat4 Says:

GL is clearly tired. He started to make easy UEs a bit more.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

On paper, There is still a possibility of an all Swiss final. Can’t see Roger get past Novak. It’s tough one between Stan and Ferrer. I feel Ferrer would get through, being a much steadier player, unless he is mentally fatigued after beating Nadal.

Very interesting matches.


Grand Slam Says:

LOL! I would not mind a bagel!!!!! On a side note, it is so interesting how some of these players cannot keep up with a good play for an entire match against the top players!!!!!


Grand Slam Says:

The bagel is half way cooked, but now deuce so hoping that Nole does not gift back the break!?


Tennishook Says:

@Grand Slam: I think they can’t because the top players figure it out and start to apply pressure. And their experience in big moments is working both ways….making the other player doubt things and try to rush and at the same time giving them control in the points….it’s the mind-over-matter thing…..For 1.5 sets GGL can play just tennis, but approaching the finish line…it will creep in to their mind and they are not as well equiped to deal with it as the proven star players are who have been in those situations hundreds of times. Still a great match by GGL–>learning moment for him


Tennishook Says:

Where Nole had a tendency to sometimes crack in his younger years, he rarely does anymore. It is one of his strongest mental attributes. He doesn’t panic and he stays positive through out. If you want to beat Nole, you have to go get it. And he is in his prime so he should have that. Nadal has it, Fed had it(age will eat at that the first–>starting to lose consistency which brings doubt) The only exception is Muzzah…he still is trying to find that mental fortitude where his negativity doesn’t impact it too much. Lendl did a great job improving that aspect.


Grand Slam Says:

Well it was not a bagel but it is a french baguette!


mat4 Says:

Great match from GL, but Novak find the right way to reverse the score: to grind him down, and in the process he found his BHDTL. Then he used his experience and broke immediately in the third. After that, the match was virtually over.


Grand Slam Says:

@Tennishook,

It is all about maturity experience and champion attitude!


Hippy Chic Says:

The top players can more often than not,find a way to grind out a win even when not playing their best,which is what Novak did today,they are made of much tougher stuff mentally,while the rest are more fragile between the ears,thats what seperates the good and the greats of the game….


mat4 Says:

But, as I wrote, Novak’s FH isn’t penetrating enough on clay. For almost two sets, he couldn’t finish the point with this shot, and it will remain his main problem on this surface. He has to be absolutely confident or desperate to start banging that shot the way he should. He tried to flatten it out, but he made to many errors. So he has to be very consistent and gradually open the court. In the first set and part of the second he just wasn’t consistent and consistently aggressive enough.


Gordon Says:

Federer vs Djokovic should be interesting; perhaps a good test today was just what Nole needed. Had he breezed through today as he did his previous 2 matches it might have been an adjustment going up against Federer; now he’ll be keen and eager to be the champ on Sunday.

That being written, if either Federer or Djokovic show up and play the way they did in their first sets today, it could be ugly.

Hopefully both guys bring their ‘A’ game and we are treated to a great match.


Hippy Chic Says:

Congrats Mat4 great match from a neutral perspective….


mat4 Says:

And, as a Novak fan, I completely agree: Novak is a great champion, in an age of exceptional champions.


Tennishook Says:

@Grand Slam

Yes! And Nole has it. Tennis-wise I’ll always be a Fed fan but I respect and enjoy seeing Nole play nowadays. He could have easily settled for staying 3rd fiddle to Fed and Rafa, but he decided he wanted to be number 1! And he did it through hard work and champion attitude. He has grown so much and he really matured a lot! Props to him. I love Fed and always want to see him win, but I think Nole has the edge tomorrow. Riding a great string now in last 3 MS 1000. He has Nr 1 ranking in sight again. I hope for a cracker tomorrow! Stan-Ferru should be entertaining also!


Tennishook Says:

@Gordon,

Chances very very slim Fed-Nole 34 will be bad. They almost always deliver against each other. Bring out the best in each other. Could be that the game will be a little scrappy, but always entertaining and exciting with a lot of tension. I could watch them play 100 times in a row and not get bored.


Hippy Chic Says:

I dont think David can back up what he did against Rafa and beat Stan,although Roger played great against Joe after a shaky start,i would give Novak the edge,i think Novak will have a point to prove and an axe to grind if he were to meet Stan in the final on Sunday if he beats Roger,im pulling for an all Swiss final as i think it would be interested to see Roger facing Stan as a GS champion now,which he hasnt done as yet….


Okiegal Says:

@Gordon

No, I’m not a troll. I appreciate all of our great players. Oh, I get testy now and then regarding my fav and will take a few potshots in retaliation. I tease with Skeezer quite a bit. I just don’t think Rafa is as solid as he used to be. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that. I really believe the crackdown on time warnings is affecting his game. Now I know and he knows there is the rule…..but he’s pretty much played his whole career over the time limit, which is not news to anyone. I think he’s having to hurry so much that it’s affecting his game……he’s getting frustrated and out of focus. Now, not making excuses for him because he should play by the rules. He might get by with being frustrated playing some, but not when he’s playing the top ranked players. Now I’m ready for everyone to come at me over this comment, JMO.


mat4 Says:

Alison,

I hate those “great match”. GL was the utterly better player for a set and a half. I didn’t watch this tournament until today (I was at work) and Novak’s results look impressive, but the only one that impressed me for an hour was the Spaniard.

My poor heart… hopefully, the vodka is still here somewhere. Time for a cure.


mat4 Says:

Alison:

I think that Roger still has a perfect game to counter Stan. While Novak can have big, big troubles against “the other Swiss”.


skeezerw Says:

ST, ATL,TA,
Love u.
Daveeeed!

mat4,
Enjoy your drink, GGL was playing very well there for awhile. Its funny, been watching Nole since he came on tour. Fans laughed at his serve, joked at his stamina and fortitude. Now, his serve is a weapon, his stamina is unquestioned, and his warrior attitude is undeniable.


Okiegal Says:

@Madmax

Why wouldn’t Federer have known about Rafa’s loss. He was scheduled to play after Rafa or am I
misunderstanding your comment?


Okiegal Says:

I don’t think Stan can beat his Daddy……just saying.


Okiegal Says:

@Slice Tennis

When I read the post from Skeezer about Rafa’s comment concerning David, I thought to myself……jinx city!! Sure enough Skeezer was wrong, and Rafa was headed for home. Oh, well, can’t win them all!


mat4 Says:

Skeezer:

Thanks for the nice words. Just hope that tomorrow both players will play well, and let the better win!


Daniel Says:

Both Fed an Djoko had breadstick in all their matches. I wonder who will ein a set 6-1 tomorrow?!:-)


Hippy Chic Says:

Okiegal not before no,but the dynamics have changed now,Roger would be playing Stan as a GS champion,still its all moot unless it happens,thats the final im pulling for,although a Stan V Novak final would be interesting especially after what happened at the AO,i think it will be a dull dud beatdown if David got to the final against either Roger or Novak(no disrespect to David though)….


contador Says:

Wow. Thanks all your excellent posting peeps! :D

Anyway, I have plenty of food for thought and without watching 3 of the 4 matches; (ironically watched the one match I did not intend to: Nadal/Feru). But going here’s my illustrious picks:

Stan over Feru
Have to agree with Ben Pronin. I like Stan’s tennis better than Daveed’s recently. This will be a good match, a battle right down to the last decider set tie break. Right? And I can;’t wait! Both will feel like this could be a key opportunity to get a master’s title on clay. The downside to both of them would be neither has a great chance against Nole or Feddy. Stan is in a better position to beat Nole than Feds, imo. Stan in 3.

Feddy over Nole
Arguing with myself over which one will win, really. I want Nole to win a bit more. But I feel like the Fed will pull it off. Might be two head-cases on court if their match goes anything their quarterfinals. I’m all in a buzz over what is going on with Nadal going out and how Djokovic will respond. I think Nole will take a mini- vacation and go rehab the wrist in prep for Rafa next tournament. Nole is focused on the lead up to RG. And winning this tournament maybe not quite a important?? Feddy bear to win in 3 wacky sets. This will be interesting.

Can’t really tell who I am supporting, if either, until into the match. It’s a coin flip for both semi-finals; just the way I like a tennis Saturday :D


skeezer Says:

Conty,
Just read your prediction,

Wow! Now you are the Queen predictor, better than Sean!
;)

Top story: A Wrist Injury Has Forced Rafael Nadal To Withdraw From Title Defenses In Canada And Cincinnati
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