Nadal Headlines Tokyo; Tennis-X Weekend Dish
by Staff | October 3rd, 2011, 1:09 am

Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships
Tokyo, Japan
Surface: hard

Seeds: Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, David Ferrer, Mardy Fish, Viktor Troicki, Janko Tipsarevic, Radek Stepanek, Juan Monaco

Floaters: Milos Raonic, Dmitri Tursunov, (Q) Ryan Harrison, Ernests Gulbis, Bernard Tomic, David Nalbandian, Marcos Baghdatis

Seeds: Tough openers include (8) Tipsarevic vs. indoor upset specialist Tursunov, (4) Fish vs. (Q) Harrison in an all-American (winner to likely face Gulbis), (5) Troicki vs. Tomic, (2) Murray vs. last week’s runner-up Baghdatis, and potential (1) Nadal vs. Raonic 2nd rd.; returning champs in the field are Nadal (2010) and Ferrer (2007).

China Open
Beijing, China
Surface: hard

Men’s Seeds: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gael Monfils, Tomas Berdych, Nicolas Almagro, Gilles Simon, Andy Roddick, John Isner, Alexandr Dolgopolov

Men’s Floaters: Grigor Dmitrov, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Jurgen Melzer, Fernando Verdasco, Michael Llodra, Ivan Ljubicic, Feliciano Lopez, Mikhail Youzhny, Kevin Anderson, Nikolay Davydenko

Men’s Notes: Lots of floaters provide opening-round challenges, including (1) Tsonga vs. the young comer Dmitrov, (3) Berdych vs. Melzer, (8) Dolgopolov in the 2nd rd. likely facing the Verdasco-Llodra winner, (7) Isner vs. Ljubicic, (4) Almagro vs. Youzhny, and (6) Roddick vs. Anderson; Berdych, Monfils need results to stay in the year-end championships race; Roddick (2008) is the lone returning champ in the field after the pull of two-time defending champ Novak Djokovic; Federer also pulls citing need for rest, and Richard Gasquet and Robin Soderling with injury.

Women’s Seeds: Caroline Wozniacki, Victoria Azarenka, Vera Zvonareva, Li Na, Petra Kvitova, Samantha Stosur, Francesca Schiavone, Marion Bartoli, Andrea Petkovic, Jelena Jankovic, Agnieszka Radwanska, Peng Shuai, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Sabine Lisicki, Roberta Vinci, Svetlana Kuznetsova

Women’s Floaters: Flavia Pennetta, Nadia Petrova, Tamira Paszek, Julia Goerges, Maria Kirilenko

Women’s Notes: Tough openers are (12) Peng vs. Pennetta (winner to likely face Daniela Hantuchova), (3) Zvonareva after a bye to potentially face Nadia Petrova, (6) Stosur vs. Julia Goerges-Maria Kirilenko winner 2nd rd., and (10) Jankovic vs. Paszek; wildcards went to Gisela Dulko, Hu Yueyue, Zhang Shuai, Zheng Jie and Zheng Saisai; qualifying into the main draw were Eleni Daniilidou, Christina McHale, Monica Niculescu, Virginie Razzano, Laura Robson, Chanelle Scheepers, Carla Suarez Navarro and Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova; pulling from the event with injury were former No. 1s Maria Sharapova, Serena and Venus Williams; former champs in the field are Wozniacki (2010), Kuznetsova (2009,’06), Jankovic (2008) and Kirilenko (2005).


Murray Pounds Young for ATP Bangkok Title

World No. 4 Andy Murray rolled first-time ATP finalist Donald Young 6-2, 6-0 on Sunday in the PTT Thailand Open final.

Murray says his goal is to overtake world No. 3 Roger Federer in the year-end rankings. “Roger always plays very well on the European indoor courts, so I’m sure I’m going to have to win a lot more matches if I want to finish No. 3. That’s the goal and I’ll keep working hard to give myself a shot at doing that.”

It was the third title of the year for Murray. Young will crack the Top 50 after his runner-up effort, a far cry from the result when he defeated Murray at Indian Wells.

“He played well. I couldn’t do much and it showed in the score,” Young said. “It was great play from him. It was my first final on the ATP World Tour; I’ve had a semi and the fourth round of a Slam, but there’s nothing like your first final. It’s great. I beat some high calibre players and I played well.”

Tipsarevic Wins 1st Title in 5th Final at ATP Kuala Lumpur

Top 20-ranked Serb Janko Tipsarevic won his first ATP title at the fifth try on Sunday when he defeated Marcos Baghdatis 6-4, 7-5 for the Malaysian Open crown in Kuala Lumpur.

“It feels great. I think I deserved it,” Tipsarevic said. “Marcos Baghdatis has played in 11 finals and was a former Top 10 player, a Grand Slam finalist. So I feel happy that I won against a great player in a final that I hope kept the fans on the edge of their seats until the very end. I could not be happier.”

The 27-year-old had previously finished runner-up at the 2009 Kremlin Cup in Moscow (l. to Mikhail Youzhny), the 2010 UNICEF Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (l. to Sergiy Stakhovsky), and at the 2011 Delray Beach International Tennis Championships (l. to Juan Martin del Potro) and the 2011 AEGON International in Eastbourne (l. to Andreas Seppi).

Baghdatis dropped to 4-7 in career finals. “It wasn’t my day today,” Baghdatis said. “Janko played great. He deserved to win, he was more aggressive. You just have to say ‘well done’ to Janko for a great week and a great year overall.”

Radwanska Tops Zvonareva for WTA Tokyo Crown

Aggie Radwanska defeated Vera Zvonareva 6-3, 6-2 for the third straight time in their head-to-head to capture the Toray Pan Pacific Open title in Tokyo.
“I was a little bit nervous at the start, but I woke up after those first two games,” said Radwanska, who was a point from going down 0-3 in the opening set. “I had some tough matches this week, and I was playing without a bye, so I had a lot of matches in a row, but I just kept trying my best. It was the finals so I tried not to think about it and fight until the end.”

Radwanska improved to 6-2 in career finals. Zvonareva dropped to 12-18 in career finals.
“I started well and broke her, but after that I don’t know what happened to me,” Zvonareva said. “I’ve played with Agnieszka a lot and know how she plays, and if I played to my usual standard I could have won, but I just couldn’t today. It happens. I’ll take my lessons from this match then hope to forget it as soon as possible.”

Melanie Oudin has canned her longtime coach Brian DeVilliers, who at one time was in a relationship with her mother, and is now being coached by the USTA’s Tom Gullikson on a tentative basis. Oudin reportedly approached the USTA during the US Open, and as of late her ranking has dropped to the point where she is playing challenger-level events…Jelena Dokic has reunited with her crazy father, who is still banned from being credentialed for WTA events, after eight years: “I initiated the meeting as I want to reunite my family and allow us all to get on with our lives and be happy. This has gone on too long,” Dokic told the Sydney Daily Telegraph. “I am in a very positive and confident frame of mind in my life and I really wanted to do this because I believe it is the right thing to do both for me and for all of my family. My father was very receptive and I believe he has changed greatly. He understands that I am my own person who makes my own decisions.” A year and a half ago Damir Dokic was released from a year in prison for threatening to blow up the Australian Embassy in Belgrade and illegal possession of weapons in his home…Maria Sharapova pulled from the quarters of Tokyo after twisting her ankle against Petra Kvitova in a rematch of the Wimbledon final…The ATP Shanghai Masters event has fallen through after Roger Federer pulls to rest and Novak Djokovic pulls with injury…Michael Chang talking to the Seattle Times on the troubles between legends Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras: “If you’re asking me that question, you must not have seen their exhibition doubles match when they played Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. To refresh your memory, Pete almost took Andre’s head off on a serve — on the fly, not on the bounce. They’re having some issues.”…From Filip Bondy of the New York Daily News, who is usually on the mark but not this time, on the Serena Williams incident in the US Open final: “This seemed an extreme, unnecessary call, considering Stosur didn’t really have a play on the ball. Afterward, the Aussie copped out, claimed she couldn’t remember the point. Asderaki might have ignored the scream or, at her discretion, declared a let. The chair umpire picked a fight, chose to make this a point of law.” — Ignored the scream? Picked a fight? Uh, it’s called “applying the rules,” what umpires are supposed to do, not look the other way…The put-down of the year has to be “You’re unattractive inside,” that is going to blow up…Michael Chang on playing John McEnroe: “I played John McEnroe for the first time at the French Open in ’88, which was the year before I won in ’89. The press conference the day before, John was saying, ‘I’m going to play this 16-year-old kid and I’m going to kill him.’ It’s kind of tough not shaking in your shoes at that. My first mistake was that I let him walk out on the court first. The Parisians love John, and he raised his hands like he was royalty, and I walked out after him feeling like the little ball boy who was going to carry his stuff.”…Russian Anna Chakvetadze is reportedly entering Russian politics, and has been named as a candidate for Russia’s Right Cause party, focusing on women’s rights and children’s sports…No. 659-ranked David Savic, a 26-year-old Serbian, has received a lifetime ban for attempting to fix matches in addition to a $100K fine.

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28 Comments for Nadal Headlines Tokyo; Tennis-X Weekend Dish

Wayne Says:

what is wrong with novak?

Humble Rafa Says:

Good job putting the match fixing scandal on the last line.

Main stream media would have made it the headline..and say something like…a long time friend of Novak, Savic was banned. LOL.

Humble Rafa Says:

Now that I am getting older, and can’t beat the Djoker, I have been thinking about business, so I can settle down.

Uncle Toni suggest starting a “Restore Sanity” Addiction Removal Centers around the world. He suggests that the fans of The Arrogant One will start losing their mind soon and that I should jump on the business opportunity.

I am liking this.

Michael Says:

@Wayne. Nothing wrong with the Djoker. He is just trying to get over his loss to Delpo. Shame-facedly hiding in a corner!!

jane Says:

Anderson, a tough pllayer by any standards imo, has knocked out Roddick first round in China. I guess Andy stormed out of his post match presser. A reporter asked him if he was thinking about retirement, Roddick said “I think you should retire” and stormed out, lol. A lot of players wouldn’t get away with that!

jane Says:

Nole was carrying a back/rib injury (partial tear of intercostal muscle) since the USO Wayne.

jane Says:

Great field in Japan – so many dangerous floaters. And Muzza and Rafa, too, of course.

rogerafa Says:

“Shanghai Masters event has fallen through after Roger Federer pulls to rest and Novak Djokovic pulls with injury”

When did Djokovic pull out of Shanghai? I thought he had withdrawn only from Beijing.

Wog boy Says:

I hope Novak is not going to play Shanghai, decision is yet to be made.
I am going for Jankela in Tokyo, but I think this is going to be Murray’s one . He is just to good for the rest of them.
Go Jankela, Go Andy.

alison hodge Says:

@wb i agree although im missing novak play,i have to say the smart thing to do is rest and then come back fresh,after such a superb year i think he deserves it,shame about roger pulling out too,looks like those tourneys are rafas or andys to loose now.

jane Says:

margot and others interested in Muzza’s game, here’s an interesting piece that breaks down stats of the top four, looks at areas for improvement in Murray’s game, and considers his future potential. You may or may not agree with all, much, or any of it, but it seemed like a good read to me:

Kimmi Says:

kirilenko beats stosur AGAIN. Great to see raonic back and winning a match. next up rafa.

Kimberly Says:

Kirilenko seems to have stosur number, funny stosur very strong and kirilenlo small and not really powerful

Brando Says:


Thanks for the article- its a nice read.

Can Murray do it? He’s got as much as nadal in december 2009 and nole in december 2010- as in no1 was expecting what occured in the coming season.

But realistically with murray the difference between him and nole is threefold:

1: Experience: Nole had won a grand slam, won the masters cup and finished third in the end of year ranking for 4 years in a row prior to this season. THATS MASSIVE compared to murray already. He had already overcome hurdles that murray still has not.

2: Aggressive game: Nole by nature is an aggressive player. So are recent dominant players such as federer (stating obvious) and even rafa. Outside clay where rafa knows he is better than everyone else at his best, the man knew to win at wimby, AUS/USO he needs to play alot more aggressively in order to win- he did play aggressive, hence the win. Murray plays defensively by nature, he needs to look at rafa and also change his style. NO ONE GIVES IT TO YOU IN THIS ERA- YOU GOT TO TAKE IT FOR YOURSELF.

3: MIND: Finally this is what seperates the best from the rest. It defines champions from talented/ capable players. Rafa has always been seen as the best in this regard, federer? he’s won 16 slams- case closed. Nole? It’s his mental strength over rafa that is making him win this year.

Andy has always been frail in this department and if he can address this KEY area then the other 2 areas i noted shall fall into place. I feel his game can rule on hard, grass and indoors- never clay IMO- so lets see what happens in 2012.

Kimmi Says:

yap kimberly, i don’t think stosur would like to see kirilenko anywhere near her. Stosur would say it better to lose to maria here than the USO though. she won the big one.

jane Says:

Interesting points Brandon; what did you think about the article’s analysis of serve, particularly second serves & first serve percentages. Seems to me the author thinks those aspects are crucial. And the aggressive bit too, as you note.

Kimberly Says:

Kimmi—I am sure stosur would gladly suffer the two losses in the Asian swing over and over again in exchange for her USO win. The question to all is will she be a one slam wonder and will she freak out over the hype she will face at the Aussie open next year. I am leaning tirades the one slam wonder and yes to the freak out. Any other opinions.

margot Says:

Cheers for that jane :) as far as Andy’s chances go, I think grendel has come closest with his take- namely that Andy’s beautiful game is very difficult to sustain over 5 sets, given his woeful lapses of concentration and lack of a killer forehand. For Andy everything has to be oiled and smooth,or he loses. He has no plan B. A clearest example of this would be that missed forehand against Rafa, whereupon he collapsed.
I really like Kirilenko, every opportunity she’s hassling at the net but can also baseline if she has to. That final winning shot DTL was why, it was worthy of darling Andy …;)

Brando Says:

@jane: I agree with the importance of serve part. I feel andy’s serve – when on- is much better than rafa or nole’s, and when the % of 1st serve is high he usually wins. However his serve does seem to go missing in the big matches and that’s got nothing to do with the technique bit the mind I feel. I also think margot is right, the lack of a killer forehand also hurts andy. He’s really unique in his style. After federer, he is the player who does most things in the game well with alot of variety- BUT he lacks a shot that he does better than anyone else. Closest thing he has is his BH and he’s not aggressive enough on that side like nole.

jane Says:

margot I like Maria K too. She plays Kuz well too, just like Stosur. Love how you say she’s always “hassling at net” – well put. I wish she’s win a Masters or something. She seems so dedicated, works hard, etc.

Speaking of “hassling at net” what do you -margot and Brando- think about Murray using that tactic more. He has such lovely natural touch but I feel he doesn’t use (get to use?) it as much as he could. I agreed with the article that if Muzza made his 2nd serve more of a weapon it could be a tremendous help. That way when his first serve percentage drops he has that to fall back on.

One thing neither the article nor anyone else mentioned is the coach factor. I often wonder about that. What if Muzza had a Vadja or Uncle Toni, someone he worked with and trusted, but someone how could make obvious adjustments? I think both Brad G and Miles worked well for a while but then things became stagnant. Was it Brad Muzza was with when he reached the final of the USO? Or? Anyhow…I do wonder. What about Lundgren (sp?) – he worked with Safin, also highly talented and mercurial…

jane Says:

Sorry for typos…still tired zzzzzzzz

margot Says:

jane: oh how I wish Andy would start hassling at the net! He is a superb “touch player” as you say.
I sometimes wonder if a) he hadn’t gone to Barcelona at such a young age and learnt his craft from the clay court maestros
and b) didn’t worship Rafa quite so much –
if his game might’ve been quite different and not nearly so defensive.
What seemed an excellent move at the time, owing to the lack of top class coaches in the UK, may’ve been quite detrimental in the long term.
Sobering thought :(

margot Says:

PS Wasn’t “stagnant” with Brad. Andy was quite young and fiery and it was a complete personality clash. I think now Andy has matured, Brad would be an excellent coach for him.

jane Says:

^True margot; I recall how Murray used to yell at Brad from the court, hee hee. Kind of funny at the time, but yeah, maybe Gilbert would be the right guy for Murray now, only Brad has his cushy TV job so I doubt he’d want to travel around. : /

Brando Says:

@margot: I couldn’t agree with you anymore. I really think Gilbert is the perfect coach for andy. He’ll tell him a few home truths which is what andy needs. His present setup, to me, signals that andy is a guy who likes his comfort zone, somewhat stubborn in his refusal to change. But at the same time he is a committed individual who is willing to put the work in to earn the reward. I agree with jane, andy needs to go to the net more often- he does have great touch and technique for this.

margot Says:

Brando: I think Andy is a real home boy. He was so happy to be back in Glasgow for the Davis Cup. I’m sure he misses his family, that’s why he’s got a kind of familiar comfort blanket around himself. Trouble is, Scotland is the back of beyond when it comes to accessing tournaments and the climate is not good. No wonder Andy has a flat in Miami ;)

Brando Says:

@margot: in agreement. He does seem like someone who likes having loved ones around- which is not a bad thing at all. I think andy needs a catalyst that can act as a springboard for him- and I think if he were to win the masters cup, that could be it. If rafa can’t, I’m rooting for him to do it:-)

Wog boy Says:

Jankela…Jankela, you naughty, naughty boy. You overdid with celebration.
Andy is the last man standing, don’t let me down , please .
Ana is doing prety well in Beijing. It looks thah Silver Fox is right coach for her. If she can control emotion there is no player that she can not beat. Lets go Ana , you are only 23 .

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