Murray Torks Nadal; Marat Mouthing Off; Weekend Wrap and Previews
by Staff | October 9th, 2011, 10:11 pm

Nadal, Murray Head Loaded ATP Shanghai Masters Field

The third-year Shanghai Rolex Masters in China this week is without world No. 1 Novak Djokovic (back injury) and Roger Federer (resting), but the Masters event still boasts the majority of the Top 20 players and will be a fertile ground for players looking for points to qualify for the year-end Masters event.
2009 runner-up Rafael Nadal is the top seed, joined by defending champ Andy Murray, David Ferrer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Mardy Fish, Tomas Berdych, Nicolas Almagro, Gilles Simon, Janko Tipsarevic, Andy Roddick, Viktor Troicki, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Stanislas Wawrinka, Jurgen Melzer, Florian Mayer, and Fernando Verdasco.

Opening-round meetings of interest abound in Shanghai, including (WC) David Nalbandian vs. Ernests Gulbis, (9) Tipsarevic vs. Feliciano Lopez, (6) Berdych after a bye vs. Radek Stepanek, (3) Ferrer after a bye vs. the Milos Raonic-Michael Llodra winner, former No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero vs. Mikhail Youzhny, the struggling (10) Roddick vs. (Q) Yen-Hsun Lu, (5) Fish after a bye vs. the Bernard Tomic-Kevin Anderson winner, (14) Melzer vs. Ivan Ljubicic, (11) Troicki vs. (Q) Ryan Harrison, (13) Wawrinka after a bye vs. (Q) Donald Young, and (2) Murray, coming off a long week, after a bye vs. the Thomaz Bellucci-Dmitry Tursunov winner.

American Mardy Fish is the only seed making his debut at the event. Other players missing the event this week include Robin Soderling (mono), Gale Monfils (knee), Richard Gasquet, Juan Martin Del Potro, Juan Ignacio Chela, and 2009 champion Nikolay Davydenko.

The team of Melzer-Leander Paes won the doubles title last year, and this year both return with their regular partners — Melzer with German Philipp Petzschner, and Paes with Indian countryman Mahesh Bhupathi. The Bryan brothers are the top seeds in the doubles draw, with all-unseeded Spanish teams of note Nadal-Marc Lopez and Lopez-Verdasco.

Ivanovic, Petkovic Withdrawals Leave WTA Linz Lame

The Generali Ladies Linz this week in Austria took a hit when defending champion Ana Ivanovic pulled from the event, and No. 2 seed Andrea Petkovic also exited citing a knee injury.

Reigning Wimbledon champ (WC) Petra Kvitova heads the field, joined by fellow seeds (WC) Jelena Jankovic, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Sabine Lisicki, Julia “Gorgeous” Goerges, Dominika Cibulkova, Daniela Hantuchova, and Flavia Pennetta on the indoor hardcourts.
Kvitova opens against Canadian comer Rebeca Marino, and Pennetta against Russian veteran Elena Vesnina. Other floaters in the field are Lucie Safarova and Tamira Paszek.

Hantuchova (2007) is the lone returning champ in the field.

Stosur, Bartoli Look to Print Title Efforts at 2011 HP Open in Osaka

Asian intrigue surrounds this week’s HP Open Osaka outdoor hardcourt event, where rumor has it that every player will receive an elaborate gift basket featuring a low-end HP refurbished printer.

The seedings in Osaka swing wildly, beginning with Top 10er Sam Stosur, and end-capped by No. 49-ranked American Christine McHale. Other seeded players are Marion Bartoli, Angelique Kerber, Petra Cetkovska, Jarmila Gajdosova, Ayumi Morita and Chanelle Scheepers.

Wildcards went to Bartoli and Japan’s Aiko Nakamura and Kurumi Nara.

Upset opening-round matches of interest include (7) Scheepers vs. Russian Alla Kudryavtseva, and(4) Cetkovska vs. the ageless Kimiko Date-Krumm.

Returning champions in the field are Tamarine Tanasugarn (2010) and Stosur (2009).

Murray Beats Nadal, Wins Singles and Doubles at Japan Open

Former world No. 1 Rafael Nadal’s troubles at the hands of virtually every other top player continued on Sunday in the Japan Open final when he failed to close the door after a first-set win, falling to eventual champion Andy Murray 3-6, 6-2, 6-0 in the Tokyo final. Murray also won the doubles title with brother Jamie.

“[Novak] Djokovic set the bar pretty high with his year and his records so far, so I’ve got to try and keep up somehow,” joked Murray after claiming his fourth title of the year, far short of the Serb’s tally. “I’ve played well in the last few months in Cincinnati and then the US Open. I need to carry on that form in Shanghai. I need to keep up the wins and hopefully I’ll get to the No. 3 ranking.”

Nadal dropped to 46-20 in career finals after failing to defend the title he won in 2010. “He played unbelievable, he didn’t make any mistakes in the third set,” Nadal said. “He played very aggressive and made no mistakes.”

Berdych Breaks Down Cilic for China Open Crown

Tomas Berdych captured his first title of the year Sunday in his first 2011 final, ending a 29-month title drought by topping Croat Marin Cilic 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 to win the China Open in Beijing.

“To win this title means really a lot to me because it’s after 29 months,” said Berdych after winning his sixth career title. “It was quite a long time, so I’m happy that I could break this up. I think I couldn’t have a better place to win a title than here in Beijing. I did a great move to have a good chance to qualify for London (year-end championships).”

Cilic was unseeded at the event, and after winning the first set, slowly saw the wheels come off his title effort. “I had two advantages at 4-4 [in the second set], got maybe a little bit tense and he served two big first serves,” Cilic said. “From then on, I think he started to play a little bit better and wasn’t giving me as much and I wasn’t finding right solutions for the game after that.”

Streaking Radwanska Wins Again at China Open in Beijing

Aggie Radwanska won her second consecutive WTA title after Tokyo on Sunday, defeating Andrea Petkovic 7-5, 0-6, 6-4 to win the China Open in Beijing.

“If someone said I was going to win these two tournaments, I’d say they were crazy. All of the top players were playing,” Radwanska said. “But I was playing better and better every match, especially in Tokyo. I feel like Tokyo was my biggest title already so when I came here I felt like I had nothing to lose. I just tried to keep going and not think about anything, and just fight for every point.”

It was the fifth consecutive win over Petkovic for Radwanska.

“Me and Agnieszka always have long matches. Even when it’s two sets we always play very long rallies and always play good matches,” Petkovic said. “In two or three days, when the disappointment settles a little bit, I’ll be able to look back at this as a really great match and great entertainment for the people.”


John Isner on Facebook: “Contrary to reports, I pulled out of Beijing and Shanghai due to illness NOT an abdominal strain. I have a 12-pack I mean cmon!!”…U.S. Davis Cup captain Jim Courier says American tennis is finally starting to kick itself in the ass: “There was a time period where maybe our players were not getting the best out of themselves, and I think right now there’s a renewed sense of commitment and work ethic that our kids need. You can’t just get by on talent. I mean, Donald Young is a prime example. He was the No. 1 junior in the world at 16 years of age, but it’s taken him six years to figure out what he needs to do training-wise to compete at the professional level. You can’t just rely on your skill to get this done. You have to commit the time and the energy, both on and off the court, to compete with these guys and girls who are the best at what they do.”…Reigning French Open champ Li Na, who has not posted a major result since raising the trophy in Paris, is ready to put the racquets in the bag after crashing out of the China Open 6-4, 6-0 in the first round: “I’ve just lost all confidence now,” said the 29 year old, who is back with her husband as coach after a trial with Dane Michael Mortensen. “I don’t know what I can do. Even winning one point is tough for me. For me it seems like the end of the season right now. I need a long break — for the body and the mind.”…In Beijing to promote his exo with Pete Sampras, Marat Safin says his sister Dinara is done with tennis, and will not make a return after battling chronic back issues: “Dinara was injured two years ago, in Beijing, remember?” Safin told Russian Eurosport. “She left, but never recovered completely. She tried to return, but only aggravated the crisis. Now she needs to keep her back to be able to walk normally and live a normal life. It will continue to be treated, but she will play no more…She will make an official statement herself, but as her brother, I believe that there is no chance of return.” — Safina later took to her Twitter account to say she had not retired…Serb David Savic, banned for life from pro tennis for match fixing, says he will appeal his innocence and that he was set up to get caught by a “current top player”: “That is an absolute lie,” Savic said in a statement regarding being accused of asking another player to throw a match in exchange for cash. “I was obviously chosen as a scapegoat. Without any concrete evidence, I became a drastic example for other players.”…Andy Roddick responding to a Chinese reporter’s question about retirement with “I think you should retire!” Zing, Andy! Nice comeback…Seville in Spain will be the venue for the Davis Cup final in early December, when the host nation meets Argentina. Argentina hosted their last meeting in the 2008 final which Spain won, denying the Argentines a first Davis Cup title. Seville hosted the 2004 final when they pounded the U.S…According to the math geeks, four players are still in the running to take away Caroline Wozniacki’s world No. 1 year-end ranking: Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka, Petra Kvitova and Li Na.

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30 Comments for Murray Torks Nadal; Marat Mouthing Off; Weekend Wrap and Previews

Curtis Says:

Ana didn’t withdrew. She was never on the entry list to begin with.

Humble Rafa Says:

It hurts to get bageled. Plus, British bagels suck.

Silver lining though, is I didn’t lose to Djoker.

Michael Says:

After the onslaught of Djokovic against Nadal, now most of the players know how to beat Nadal. It is merely by hitting corners with ferocious speed in turns, but it is easier said than done. But, if you stick to this game plan, you atleast have 40% chance of beating him, on the other hand if you are going to slog out against Nadal then it is as good as handing over the mantle to him. Yesterday, Murray stuck to this game plan and outplayed Nadal especially in the third set where he bageled him to his embarrassment. Nadal didn’t play badly, he played his game but Murray found another gear and emulated the Djokovic way to outgun Nadal. I am sure he must have gained some confidence by this win and will surely take this forward in Shanghai Masters. If Murray is to win a Major, he has to gain this psychological edge over the likes of Nadal, Federer and Djokovic by constantly beating them. I am sure Murray has the game to be the best, but the only thing he lacks is consistency which is the hall mark of greatness !!

margot Says:

Michael: completely agree re consistency and Andy. Forgive me for bringing up a point made before, but racquet said it looked as if Andy was practising for Rafa when he played Ferrer and I had thought that too. Andy had tweaked his game and was playing more aggressively, but not rashly as at Wimbledon, and also really flattening out that forehand too. A perfect mix between offence and defence.
I feel Andy must try and play like this all the time. There was one point in his match against Rafa in the first set. Andy got a short ball and he just patted it back to Rafa, who promptly killed it. I found myself groaning aloud, but it didn’t happen again….:)

skeezerweezer Says:

Bageled? What happened this time? Guess Rafa is not in Kansas anymore…..

Congrats Murray!!

csebig Says:

Rafa is 3-7 in finals this year.

dari Says:

I finally saw the match last night, Andy was so far into the court on so many of the points, it was crazy. And michael is right, he was painting lines like novak does, hitting corners not flat, but with spin and hitting the spots perfectly. It was quite a sight. Maybe its the all black, maybe its a posture in confidence, maybe it was camera angles, but Andy is looking bigger- height-wise and broad.
Hope the excellent play continues and the confidence continues to grow!

Wog boy Says:

If you watched Nadal against Giraldo it was the same thing. He (Giraldo) was playing Nole’s game , VAMOS-TAMOS, hitting corners and he had his chances, just lack of quality ,so he couldn’t finish it up.
Nadal and RF are history, next 4-5 years belongs to Nole and Andy, it was about time.

Wog boy Says:

One more thing, Andy is on the same diet( gluten free) as Nole. He lost some weight.

grendel Says:

margot:” A perfect mix between offence and defence.” That’s true. He was by no means always painting the lines as some posters suggest. Sometimes, indeed, I got irritated because he seemed to be going too much for safety – but this was a lack of confidence on my part. Because Murray was hitting it very hard, and this was what you might call aggressive manouevering for the killer shot as opposed to passive waiting.

However, a word of caution. For Murray to win a slam, he has to continue this type of play against lesser players. So that it becomes second nature, and he’ll be able to carry it through 5 sets. In the past, he has had a tendency to reserve the aggressive play for the very best, especially Federer. And to succomb to his natural, cautious instincts against the rest of the field.

You’d think by now he’d have learnt how fatal that is. But we will see. Old habits die hard.

Did anyone notice Nadal resorting to moonballing towards the end of the match? Talk about signs of desperation.

Humble Rafa Says:

Did anyone notice Nadal resorting to moonballing towards the end of the match? Talk about signs of desperation.

Bullsh*t. Moonballing is my tested strategy, it works against Roger and most other top players.
Moonballing is what made me the #1 player.

dari Says:

Wog boy, I did notice when he looked a bit thinner because of yhe change in diet, but I feel like he has adjusted to the diet and knows what to eat and has gotten a little bit of his bulk back. Anyway, he is playing well that is what matters.

Kimmi Says:

just watching the match. love murray red and black. adidas are doing a better job with muzza now than before, also he should always cut his hair short. no more CRAZY hair muzza.

margot Says:

grendel, if u read my post again @ 1.25 para 2, that’s exactly what you are saying @ 8.39. I also addressed this point elsewhere.

grendel Says:

so you did.

Kimmi Says:

this is how murray played in 2008 USO against rafa imo. also when he was able to beat fed and novak few times during those years. i haven’t seen murray play like that again until yesterday.

I was always wondering, why is murray not playing like that again? I knew he had that aggression in him but for some reason he could not find it again. So glad he found it yesterday. imo, if he plays like that he will always have a chance. I big chance to win against anyone.

It is a tall order to win three in a row (unless you are djovic these days :))good luck in shanghai.

Kimmi Says:

djovic > djokovic

Colin Says:

Mr Randall, you can’t resist a dig at Murray, can you? You acknowledge that he was “joking” when he made that remark about keeping up with Nole, so why do you then have to add that his tally this year is “far short of the Serb’s” ?

grendel Says:

In the video towards the bottom, Radwanska does this petka dance thing with Petkovic. She’s pretty snazzy, isn’t she? Who would have thought Radwanska? Good heart from Petkovic.

About those terracotta warriors, yes obviously one is Federer. As for the guy on the right being Putin, doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. How about Davydenko? The one on the right of Federer could be Feliciano Lopez, and next to him (possibly) Hewitt, whilst the guy on the left of Federer could be Soderling. But I wouldn’t bet on any of them.

Kimberly Says:

Rafael nadal’s troubles against almost every top player?????

Give me a freaking break
yes he is 0-6 against Djoko
4-1 v. Murray
3-0 v. Fed
Beat Soderling, Beat Ferrer, Beat Berdych, Beat Tsonga, Beat Simon, Beat Fish, Beat Roddick, Beat Del Potro.

Other than Novak please tell me a player with a better record v. top players this year that has actually played a decent amount of top players.

I imagine “staff” was watching football while writing that garbage and was not paying attention to actual facts. Or just could not resist a dig at Rafa and didn’t care if it was actually backed up with facts.

jane Says:

Hey that is a really cool page Kimberly! Thanks for the link. Fed and Nadal career-wise have excellent records versus the top ten, and Murray has a better percentage than Nole
though Nole played more matches against top ten guys thus faR. But Andy M almost always brings his best against top guys. Couldn’t say the same about Nole before this year.Fed and Rafa have played more matches too (esp Fed) but nonetheless have better records. Be interested to see if Nole or Muzza can get up a bit higher. One of the best things about Nole’s year, for me anyhow, was to see him consistently winning against top guys – including 10-1 versus Fed and Nadal. Two of the greatest of all times.

jane Says:

OMG I am going to spend an hour at that page, lol. Just learned (didn’t realize) that Nole has sucked at tiebreakers (didn’t even rate on the scale of top 45 -eek) but his record after winning the first set is astounding. Perfect for is year, and for his career he is 339 wins to 17 losses after winning set one. Cool pages on that link.

Kimberly Says:

For stat junkies it is a fun page

Wog boy Says:

Just watching Roddick and Dimitrov. Bulgarian is RF’s copy, he even bounces the ball same way, just can not play as good as RF. Roddick should win this one.
It is sad ,such nice stadiums, Beijing and Shanghai, but they are empty, no tennis atmosphere. Maybe it is only me.
Things are turning against Roddick, strange match. Spectators keep walking in and out as they please during the game, roddick is getting agitated.

Kimmi Says:

Tomic is only 18, he looks much older than that.

margot Says:

kimmi, he’s 19 in 10 days. Isn’t he fabulous, so cool under pressure. Wonderful, fluid construction of points, never seems flustered or down on himself, quietly, calmly he gets on with the job of destroying the opposition. He’s rapidly becoming my second favourite player :)

grendel Says:

@Kimberley 10.09

Depends what you mean by “top”. If we’re talking top 4, then obviously Djokovic, and a resounding defeat by Murray – and a less than convincing victory over Federer at RG.

Other than that, there was del Potro – still not back to his best – who gave Nadal quite a battle at Wimbledon (a surface the Argentinian had always struggled with). And top ten newcomer Mardy Fish finally beat Nadal.

You can’t make a great deal out of that – so you have to allow for a touch of journalistic hyperbole. Nevertheless, there is enough there to raise legitimate doubts about Nadal’s form. Clearly, he is still going to be very, very successful by the standards of most players. But the whole point about Nadal is that we don’t measure him by the standards of most players – that goes with the territory of being a great champion. People at the very top always invite more exacting scrutiny than the rest, that’s just how it is.

And it does look like the rest of the field is making small inroads into his fiefdom and, in the nature of things, this is likely to get worse, not better.

Kimmi Says:

margot – the tomic bandwagon seem to be for real, not like a de bakker one which has broken down at the mo. or dolgo, dimitrov bandwagon. best of luck man

grendel Says:

Kimmi, I like Tomic too, I like his tennis I mean. Just his tennis. I’m still holding on to hopes for Dimitrov. He recently gave Murray a good battle, and the scoreline with Roddick today was close. The potential is there – not sure if the biology is, same trouble with Nishikori, a player with a distinctive talent.

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