Djokovic, Soderling Headline Clay Events; ATP, WTA Previews
by Staff | April 24th, 2011, 1:04 am

Estoril Open
Estoril, Portugal
Surface: red clay

Men’s Seeds: Robin Soderling, Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gilles Simon, Milos “Big Baby” Raonic, Thomaz Bellucci, Kevin Anderson, Juan Martin Del Potro
Men’s Floaters: Igor Andreev

Notes: A combined men’s and women’s tournament since 1998; (5) Big Baby in a tough opener vs. Russian grinder Andreev; Soderling, Big Baby, Tsonga, Bellucci, Anderson make their debuts at the event; two-time defending champ Al Montanes missing; notables winning the Estoril title over the years have included Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, David Nalbandian, Gaston Gaudio, Nikolay Davydenko, Juan Carlos, Carlos Moya, Thomas Muster, and Sergi Bruguera.

Women’s Seeds: Alisa Kleybanova, Jarmila Gajdosova, Klara Zakopalova, Anastasija Sevastova, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Elena Vesnina, Jie Zheng, Greta Arn

Women’s Floaters: none

Women’s Notes: wildcards went to Portugal’s Barbara Luz, Magali De Lattre and Maria Joao Koehler; in last year’s final Sevastova defeated Arantxa Parra Santonja; notables winning the women’s Estoril title over the years have included: no one.

Serbia Open
Belgrade, Serbia
Surface: red clay

Seeds: Novak Djokovic, Viktor Troicki, Guillermo “G-Lo” Garcia-Lopez, Al Montanes, John Isner, Ernests Gulbis, Janko Tipsarevic, Juan Monaco

Floaters: Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo, Ricardo Mello “Yello”, Kei Nishikori, Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez, (WC) Fernando Gonzalez

Notes: Gonzo returns from long injury layoff; Djokovic after a bye opens against grinder Ramirez Hidalgo, Isner againt the grinder Mello, Tipsarevic against Nishikori, Monaco against Lopez, and Gonzo against a qualifier; wildcards to Gonzo, Gulbis, and Serb Dusan Lajovic; defending champ Sam Querrey missing.

BMW Open by FWU Takaful
Munich, Germany
Surface: red clay

Seeds: Mikhail Youzhny, Stan Wawrinka, Marin Cilic, Marcos Baghdatis, Florian Mayer, Sergiy Stakhovsky, Nikolay Davydenko, Philipp Kohlschreiber

Floaters: Ivan Dodig, Julien “United Colors of” Benneteau, Jarkko Nieminen, Radek Stepanek

Notes: Youzhny beat Cilic in last year’s final; nice title sponsor; Wawrinka, Stakhovsky debut at the event; former champs in the field are Youzhny (2010), Kohlschreiber (2007), and Davydenko (2004).

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47 Comments for Djokovic, Soderling Headline Clay Events; ATP, WTA Previews

jane Says:

Didn’t Montanes win Estoril last year? If so, I wonder why he’d play Serbia this year? And Gonza’s back! Lots of true clay-courters/Spaniards playing in Serbia, where there are a lot of big hitters (Raonic, Soda, Tsonga, Delpo) playing at Estoril. Interested to see what happens. Hope Nole hasn’t lost momentum.

Dragan Says:

I think Novak was just riesting,he certanaly hasn’t lost momentum.I’m looking forward to see Del Potro,he’s one of my fevurites.Hope that he will be good on clay.

Kimmi Says:

aaarg!!, “big baby” not very nice. how about baby face?

Kimmi Says:

serbia open has all the players that djoko has baked bagels and breaststick against..

I think this is djoko tournament to lose..still hasn’t lost a match this year? amazing!

Estoril is a little bit tougher i think. go delpo.

looks like davydenko is finding his game slowly. he won couple of matches in barcelona

jane Says:

Agree. Estoril definitely looks tougher, Kimmi, but just thought it is interesting that a few more grinders/classic clay courters are playing in Serbia. I see Nishikori is going there, though; I think he and Nole probably got to know one another in Miami when Nole arranged the soccer game for Japan support. Hope things are going well in Japan. We hear so little in the news after the fact.

Mila Says:

I digress, but things do not go well in Japan. They are hiding the truth which is not pretty. It is likely way worse than what anyone could imagine. Poor innocent folks, they’re the ones I feel horrible for.

BTW, no problems for Novak in his (and mine) birthplace. Barring injury, week from now his 2011 streak will be 28 matches and counting…

Kimmi Says:

ah, nishikori. another player i really like. was very impressed with his game when he played nadal in miami. he went shot for shot with nadal; he lost but you could tell the guy has something special.

hope we see more of him and i hope we get to see his full potential!

billyboy512 Says:

Why is this site sputtering out? No Barcelona final stale funk/trunk…this used to be a regular site…losing interest here…yawn

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Great line-up at Estoril. Raonic has a tough first round, but a draw he should get through- including Simon- until a semi rematch with Big Crybaby “I hope to see him on clay” Verdasco. Very interested in this tournament to see if:
Raonic shows improvement on clay
Verdasco, Soderling, and Tsonga can get back into the swing
DelPotro can prove he really is a threat (another win over Soderling?)

Serbia looks pretty boring- can’t imagine Gonzo is going to show much already, Nole should have his streak intact at weeks end.

skeezerweezer Says:

^ Finally an interesting Draw….where is Rafa now?

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Running scared obviously.

andrea Says:

clay court season is becoming awfully boring…nadal and ferrer in back to back tournaments?


Ya clay season is boring , started from 2005 till now and so was the grass season from 2003 to 2008,

Lulu Iberica Says:

Jeez, I guess boredom means people want to start a fight with us Nadal fans. Skeezer and Tennis Vagabond, where was Nole at Monte Carlo? Why the heck would Rafa play one of these piddling 250 tourneys when he’s played 2 weeks in a row, and then has Madrid and Rome coming up? A lot of his fans were PO’d he was playing for 500 points in his own home tournament. As for the rest of clay season, as Rafa would say, “We gonna see what’s going on, no?”

Kimberly Says:

I know, lulu i was going to let it slide. Ludicrous. He is definitely hiding from the depth of the fields at the serbia open (especially) and estoril. Come on guys! Where is Fed? Is he “running scared” too?

Serbia is basically a mulligan for Novak. And Estoril, considering the defending champ is ALbert Montanes I wouldn’t exactly call it a premier event.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Or maybe the line “running scared” to describe someone who hasn’t lost on clay in two years, winning, what 7 straight tournaments, and considered utterly dominant on the surface, might have been a joke?
Nah, too obvious.

Skeezerweezer Says:

On another note If the guys are whining about not enough time off and shortening the season for needed rest why not chop off some these 250 / 500 tourneys…including Halle? No fight pickin here, that’s for my nose, pickin that is.

Lloyd Walters Says:

Whilst watching Tipsarevic’s self-destruction against Nishokori (first set 6-2), it dawned on me that starting from my realisation last year that Tipsarevic reminded me of Sammy Davis Jr, the improbable could be extended to create the nucleas of a Serbian Tennis Ratpack. Nole (of course) is Sinatra and Troicki can fill the Dean Martin slot.

I can’t be bothered with the Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford roles, as they were little more than fellow travellers in the public’s eyes, as they were not big Hollywood stars.

jane Says:

^ ha ha, Lloyd Walters, to borrow from skeezerweezer’s lexicon, that is “classic.” :) I do see the Sammy Davis resemblance; it is in the chin, yes? Maybe the glasses too?

Lloyd Walters Says:

The chin and the nose match up.

I don’t know about Sammy Davis Jr’s legs, because he was always seen in a suit, so who knows – he might also have had Tipsarevic style legs, which are certainly unique on the tennis circuit.

dari Says:

lllllooooyyyyyd, laugh out loud at the library!
i see it, too-chin for sure, good call on the glasses, too jane.
but you will have to explain the legs on tipsarevic?

grendel Says:

Nishikori out. Seems to be making a habit of atarting promisingly, and then gradually getting turned over. Worrying trend.

jane Says:

Yes Lloyd. I agree with dari on the legs reference: please, do tell!?

jane Says:

True, grendel, and am sad he is out – but the final scoreline is worth a consideration here. Tipsy had “home court” advantage, and he won by a nose, or maybe a leg. Or a song. “The candyman can cause he mixes it with love and makes the world taste good…”

Lloyd Walters Says:

Janko’s knee joints are simply different to the norm. Maybe he was born knock-kneed, or bow-legged, or had some other problem that was fixed with major surgical operations on him as a baby. They certainly work OK now, but to me they look peculiar.

I have a cousin who was born with hip joint problems. She spent the first two years of her life with her legs in a cast, doing the splits !!! So she was a late starter when it came to walking, but could do things with her legs that these days could have easily got her star billing in porno movies…

dari Says:

candy man! that was the first “popular” song i learned on the piano. man, tennis somehow brings memories from every corner of life

Kimberly Says:

interesting, vegas odds on estoril open winner favoring Delpo!

Kimmi Says:

so close for nishikori. tie breaks are a toss up, can go either way. another try next time. tipsy is a tough first round.

Kimmi Says:

grendel – petra kvitova. yes, i have seen her play. she can hit the ball very hard when she is set up to it but i don’t think she can move as well as most top players. I could be wrong, we will see!

sar Says:

Secret of Novak’s run is a change of diet and new doctor. It makes sense that he cut out the gluten since he was always allergic. Sorry if this is a repost.

dari Says:

sar, cool to know the health details, that’s good news whether you’re a tennis player or not.
I did notice that his physique was different but I didnt think he had lost weight, but was just more cut to
Buen suerte to Juan marteen tomorrow on the red clay!

jane Says:

Very cool sar: thanks for posting that as I hadn’t seen it. Good luck to Nole, JMDP and others tomorrow (haven’t even looked at the draws); am stuck in what are sure to be dreary meetings all day tomorrow. : /

Lulu Iberica Says:

All good, Skeezer and T.V. I’m not always so quick on the uptake with the jokes! Anyway, there certainly are posters on other sites getting carried away with the Nole fever (and pinning unlikely hopes on Soderling) and making serious comments about Rafa running scared.

Hoping Raonic and Delpo do well at Estoril, also hoping Djoko wins Serbia, but that is a little scary!

dari Says:

It’s gonna stop being news soon, but gulbis out of Serbian open first round to marchenko :/

skeezerweezer Says:

Raonic is so far not as formidable on Clay as on the HC, but me likes the experience he is getting on it, not running away, playing most every tourney….and excited to see how Delpo is going to do…..Nole is a given quality right now and have expectations there…

Polo Says:

Why does Gulbis even play professional tennis?

Kimberly Says:

polo-i’ve been trying to figure that out myself.

dari Says:

Well, sorry Stan. Lost in three sets to D. Brown. But Congrats to delpo and gonzo!

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Just saw a bit of the Raonic match but he looked good. Now an easy round before Simon.
I think those crushing forehands of Raonic will be tough on any service, and his kick serve should be very effective on clay. He could be one of the offensive clay players, like Soderling, Berdych, DelPotro who have been just as successful in the big picture as the defensive players other than Rafa, ie not very.

How did that dude win a set off DelPo? How’d DelPo look?

grendel Says:

Further to WawWa losing to Dustin Brown. I noticed Brown was playing under the German flag. He played Murray at the US Open – I think as a Jamaican (he is, after all, Jamaican). At the time, there was much talk of his being recruited to boost British tennis. It is a recurrent theme, actually, this attempt to attract foreigners to play for England. Sometimes it succeeds, there was a Zimbabwean geezer whose name escapes me, and then of course there was Rusedski.

Might be hard to believe, but a few years ago there was talk of recruiting Djokovic. You could sense the saliva oozing in dollops in the LTA ranks as they contemplated the prospect of the entire Djokovic brood donning the Union Jack. Quite why Djokovic should have been singled out in this way, I have no idea. Perhaps they thought it was too late to suborn Federer, and maybe the spectacle of Nadal masquerading as an Hispanic Englishman seemed a touch improbable.

And now (alas, alack) Dustin Brown has resisted the lure of English gold and cast in his lot with the Germans. Why would he do that, now? What have the Germans got that we haven’t, eh? Well, I suppose there is always the fact the the Germans understand how to play tennis quite well….

dari Says:

Oh, wow, didn’t know he was playing as a German. I knew he was born there and I noticed he had a wild card, and thought it was nice of them to give him a wild card even though he is playing under Jamaica. Nope he’s with Germany at the moment.
I do remember hearing that djokovic British stuff! Seems so bizarre now

contador Says:

pedro sousa – whoever he is yes, got a set off delpo. must have been playing to the home crowd, sousa. or delpo is really rusty. i didn’t see any matches. actually thought about getting up to see gulbis (bad habit) but glad i didn’t. gulbis lost to marchenko. not a good sign at all. yeah he’ll be seriously dropping in rank.

raonic result is hopeful. andreev is sometimes tough on clay, isn’t he?
also happy gonzo is back and won his 1st match in belgrade.
i see davy won too.

oh i do hope to see raonic v verdasco – lol… i mean speaking of “hiders” why didn’t hot sauce come out to play in barcelona? ;) maybe ferrer is designated to take the drubbings from rafa this clay season? i can’t blame verdasco or anyone for hiding and skipping a beatdown. hide! hide! save yourselves!

Kimberly, for the record, i was completely neutral IW final but cheering for a hc rafa win by miami. now i’m back to cheering on nole – full on. really thinking nole is the only realistic hope to challenge rafa at all. unless murray’s elbow is ALL better soon. murray was impressive, what i watched of him in MC.

contador Says:

LOL…grendel! that whole paragraph made me snort my pop! “…Nadal masquerading as a Hispanic Englishman…”

contador Says:

isn’t dustin brown’s mom german? i mean i think there’s a reason ….have to look it up…

otherwise, yeah, would think the UK could have persuaded him? hm…

contador Says:

”dreddy,” dustin brown was born is germany. : ) i guess that’s a good reason to play for germany. his mom, Inge, is german but his dad is jamaican.

go dreddy! that might of been a great match to watch v wawa. 3 sets, 2 very close. makes me wonder about wawa’s clay form though.

grendel Says:

Contador, thanks for info on D.Brown. He’s an entertaining player. Immediately prior to his match with Murray at US Open, he was talking himself up as if he had nothing to lose, he’d give it everything he’d got and some, and so on. Jamaicans were wheeled on to attest to Brown’s ferocity, rather as if he were a West Indian fast bowler eagerly about to gun for British flesh. Murray made a few sceptical grunts, and all in all we in the grendel household looked forward to an eccentric outing. And so it proved, with Brown smashing the ball with great gusto, the ball landing in various unexpected places, generally out of Murray’s reach, and sometimes in.Indeed it appeared, for a few delirious moments, as if Brown might even take the first set. Murray looked deeply disapproving of the whole affair. He went about his business rather in the manner of one who has agreed, against his better judgement, to perform a disagreeable task, and now wishes he hadn’t. This seemed to induce a kind of mini-sulk, Brown continued to make hay in the second set, but faded in the third as Murray finally pulled rank.

Kimberly Says:

contador-hot sauce apparently didn’t play barcelona because he had a spat with the tournament organizers.

Its okay not to root for Rafa. I live with someone who cheers for his demise. He used to root for Rafa over the Andys because he doesn’t like them but now due to rafas dominance he will even root for the andys.

If i make cranky pro rafa or agressive comments it is likely i just lost a tennis match or a real estate deal. Its all cool. I’m here to have fun and i like everybody.

As long as everyone is nice to Colin05 and deals with his childish taunting all is good.

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