Murray v Berdych, Tsonga v Del Potro Thursday In Dubai; Roddick Out For Revenge In Delray
by Staff | March 1st, 2012, 12:46 am

With seven of the Top 10 players still alive, it’s an absolute blockbuster quarterfinal line-up in Dubai on Thursday.

With new coach Ivan Lendl stateside in Florida, Andy Murray meets big-hitting Tomas Berdych in the opening quarterfinal. Berdych leads the Scot 3-1 having won the last three meetings most recently last fall in the Paris quarterfinals.

“I’ve always enjoyed playing guys that are big hitters,” Murray said of Berdych. “That’s his game. I’ll have to try and find a way of neutralising that by getting the first hit in the rallies, using a lot variety in my game. He can make mistakes, but you need to force him into doing that. He’s not just going to give you that. If you leave the ball in the middle of the court, he hits the ball very, very well.”

Murray is 12-1 on the season losing only to Novak Djokovic in an epic 5-set Australian Open semifinal.

Four-time tournament champion Roger Federer is next up against Mikhail Youzhny in a rematch of their 2007 Dubai final. Federer has won all 11 meetings against the Russian dropping just three sets.

“He was in the Top 10, semis of the US Open, and I’ve had my fair share of tough matches with him over the years,” Federer said of playing Mikhail. “He’s very talented. He’s got one the best one handed backhands in the game and reads the plays well. He has got a good slice and has good control. In quick conditions like this, if you have good control makes it a tough opponent to play against.”

Federer has won 72 straight matches against players ranked outside of the Top 20.

In a battle of Serbs, good friends Novak Djokovic and Janko Tipsarevic tangle for a fifth time. The World No. 1 has won three of those four meetings but Tipsarevic won their most recent affair in London at the ATP Finals last November.

“[Janko’s] very solid from the baseline,” said Djokovic who is a perfect 9-0 this season. “When he has time and he steps into the court, he’s very dangerous. I need to try to be aggressive. I need to try to stay close to the line. That’s all. He doesn’t have many weaknesses in his game.”

Djokovic has won the last three titles on the slick Dubai courts and 17 straight matches overall at the tournament.

In the final match, big hitters Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Juan Martin Del Potro clash for the last spot in the semifinals. Del Potro has beaten Tsonga in four times in five tries. The two met just last weekend in a match won by Del Potro in three sets in the semifinals of Marseille.

“I played against him last week,” said Tsonga. “I lost it. It was not easy. I played a good match, but he played well. I know tomorrow it’s going to be the same. It’s going to be difficult for sure.”

In Delray Beach, Andy Roddick will have revenge on his mind against Denis Istomin Thursday. Istomin knocked out Roddick two weeks ago in San Jose.

On the clay in Acapulco, Nicolas Almagro faces countryman Fernando Verdasco. David Ferrer is also in action.


CENTRE COURT start 2:00 pm
[3] A Murray (GBR) vs [5] T Berdych (CZE) – ATP

Not Before 5:00 PM
M Youzhny (RUS) vs [2] R Federer (SUI) – ATP

Not Before 7:00 PM
[1] N Djokovic (SRB) vs [7] J Tipsarevic (SRB) – ATP
[8] J Del Potro (ARG) vs [4] J Tsonga (FRA) – ATP

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90 Comments for Murray v Berdych, Tsonga v Del Potro Thursday In Dubai; Roddick Out For Revenge In Delray

Michael Says:

Yeah it is a blockbuster line-up.

Murray Vs Berdych – Although I want Murray to win, I feel Berdych will win this match in three. This is because Murray is not looking at his best in this tournament and is somewhat struggling with fitness issues. Moreover, Berdych has an excellent H2H against him. Therefore, all this will combine to spoil Murray’s journey in this tournament.

Novak Vs Tipsaveric – I will go for Novak in Straight sets.

Roger Vs Youzny – Roger in two tough sets

Del Potro Vs Tsonga – Although most commentators have picked Tsonga in this match, I root for Del Potro. He should win this one in three tough sets.

grendel Says:

That was some backhand from Federer, early on in his match against Lodra. I don’t recall the exact score, but anyone who watched the match will know the shot I mean. Federer was more or less on the base line when he seemed to flick at the ball. It travelled with great speed right to the other end of the court, with the receiver left stranded. Couldn’t even make a play at a ball delivered from nowhere.

Of course such a shot would not have been possible without spot on timing, and imagination too. Makes you wonder, how much is instinct, how much is conscious? Even so, all the elegance and touch in the world would not have been enough. There must be great strength lurking in that right forearm of Federer’s – personally, I find it hard to imagine any other player with a onehanded bh having the power to bring off such a shot, at least not since Boris Becker. And the Becker rocket – as I remember it – tended to crash down the line (such majesty), whilst that slight twisty angle which Federer imparted to his particular thunderbolt might have been beyond Becker’s scope. There is a tendency, these days, to be slightly sniffy about the one handed bh – a thing of beauty (occasionally) but lacking true substance seems to be the prevailing feeling. We are hypnotised by the spectacle of the hapless Federer struggling with the high bouncer to his shoulder, whilst del Potro, Djokovic, Tsonga and even little Davydenko all dispatch it with calm authority, leaving Nadal scratching his head. And yet. Federer’s bh is quite incredibly potent in the right circumstances, and if it is lacking in just one area well, how surprising is that, if you please? If Federer can be blamed for anything in this respect, it is for failing to adapt, for allowing Nadal to dictate, for not just cutting his losses and making good elsewhere. There is a dreadful naievety in Federer’s tightlipped performances against Nadal, a strange lack of spirit. Don’t blame the backhand.

All this left me pondering on the significance of the surface. This surface is helpful to Federer, and he is definitely in with a shot of winning the title (although he is not favourite of course). Whereas nobody really believed Federer would beat Nadal in the AO semi, at least nobody who takes account of reality. Similarly, it is hard to believe Federer can possibly win in Miami, for example. Is this the chief difference between the Federer of today and the glory days of yore? Once, we simply expected Federer to win. Now, we anxiously contemplate the surface. It is not obvious why. A slight deterioration in Federer’s standard of play? An improvement in the quality of his opponents? A general slowing down of the courts? As ever, a satisfying answer is unlikely to be of the either/or variety.

Meanwhile, it is easy to see why the wily Nadal avoided this particular tourney. There are a number of players in Dubai who have the beating of him on this surface, and he is not going to risk exposing himself to the likelihood of a wounding defeat at a time when he is carefully rebuilding the aura. Nadal is above all a warrior, and a successful warrior calculates the odds carefully – and understands how to spin. Nadal actually had a much better chance of winning Dubai than Federer does of winning Miami. But this is not a man who will leave anything to chance, if he can possibly help it.

Wog boy Says:

Murray looks good, very good. This can finish in two, Berdych is not in it, not at all.

grendel Says:

Wog boy, only watched last 3 or 4 games of set. Actually, Berdych did well in the final game – 2 wonderful returns shocked Andy (hey, that’s my role – not yours; stick to your own stuff!)and then a lovely cagey volley set the big man up for easy smash. The crunch, I thought, was in one of the last rallies – Berdych powering the ball in that smooth easy way of his (there’s so little apparent effort, easy to miss just how damn hard the ball is being hit), and Murray hung on. Literally, by the skin of the old eyebrows. Talk about David and Goliath, Murray was on the ropes – but not yielding. And eventually the error came, and it was all over.

Kimmi Says:

grendel – where have you been? we miss you.

Go Murray, I dont believe the results, he is crushing berdych at the moment.

Kimmi Says:

Ok, i said it too quickly, berdych about to break back. c’mon murray, dont let him in.

racquet Says:

Murray breaks back. Berdy is all out of sorts in this match. Andy the steadier player. Who would have thought it?

Michael Says:


Nice to see you back.

I saw that Roger’s match against Llodra and in the first set he was just devastating. I remember that shot you are talking of. It was an unbelievable flick shot from the baseline and being one handed made that shot looked even more impressive on closer look. Federer played incredible in that first set although he was helped by a rugged Llodra at the other end. Talking of that one handed backhand of Roger, many consider it to be his weakest and his forehand the strongest. But in most of the matches I watch while he is consistent in the backhand department, ironically it is the forehand which lets him down time and again and he makes a string of unforced errors which never stops from his racket when he is having a bad day in Office.

As you rightly observed, Roger struggles against the high bounce of Nadal but Federer is too good a player to be troubled by that just one shot. He can find remedies. The main reason why Roger struggles against Nadal is lack of confidence and it is not that Nadal is a superior player. It is more or less psychological. Nadal slowly built his superiority on the Clay surface and extended it to other Courts and the frequent losses in the beginning against Nadal had its impact on Roger. I have seen many of the matches where Roger makes a mess of easy shots against Nadal. The recent one is the French Open 2011 where Roger missed an easy drop shot leading 5-2 in the first set. If that had been executed well, it would have made a vast difference to the outcome of the match and who knows may be scaled Roger to even greater heights after beating Nadal in his favourite turf. But it was not to be and he muffed. Do you believe this, it is in this fast Court Nadal beat Roger in 2006 and it happened despite Roger winning the first set 6-2 and then slided down to lose 4-6, 4-6.

I for one was somewhat confident of Roger defeating Nadal at the Australian Open. I came to this conclusion only after seeing his performance in that tournament and the way he dismantled Del Potro. He was in superb form. But all that gave away slowly when he met Nadal. Not taking anything away from Nadal, he played superb Tennis and he deserved his victory. But the Roger we saw against Del Potro was completely absent in that match and his game was just pedestrian. Might be the nature of opponent did this or Roger’s confidence let him down, but it was a combination of everything.

I do not share your view that Nadal avoided this tournament because it did not favour his play. He is taking the much needed rest for a busy season ahead. It is a tournament he won in 2006 beating Roger. The money involved in this tourney is also tremendous and tax free. Despite all these, Nadal thought it fit to skip it and we should respect his decision and not give any twist to the tale.

Colin Says:

Murray seems to be getting cramp in his leg.

Kimmi Says:

break, break back, break again..what is going on?

Michael Says:

Murray is winning and I am happy I am wrong. I want a Murray Vs Novak semi-final and that should be a very interesting one.

racquet Says:

Bizarre 2nd set. I don’t like the omens. Murray needs to close it out in 2.

Michael Says:

If Berdych wins the second set, then it will be tough for Murray. If he has to win it, he should finish the match in straight.

grendel Says:

quite a dramatic game at 4 all, after several breaks. Berdych cruises, and then Murray pulls back. berdych aces to go game point – but no, foot fault. Then double fault. You can count on the fingers of your hand and the toes of your foot and the follicles of youre eyebrow the number of players who’d have exploded at that point. But not Berdych – he calmly continued, weathering another brilliant and frustrating Murray pass to hold. Not a great match – but some how enthralling.

Michael Says:

Murray is serving for the match.

racquet Says:

Whew! It only took 7 match points but Muzzah comes through in straights. Odd match.

Kimmi Says:

finally! congrats murray

Colin Says:

The wee mon tucks another win in his kilt. He wasn’t at his best, but he did the job.
Anyone know what Tomas was complaining about during the final game?

racquet Says:

He was complaining that Mthe umpire awarded the point to Murray when he thought it should’ve been a let.

Michael Says:

It is a morale boosting win for Murray after three straight losses to Berdych. He still has mountain to climb if he wants to win this tournament. He has to beat Novak and probably Roger in the finals to clinch it. Difficult but not impossible for a player like Murray especially in three setters.

grendel Says:

Colin, Murray’s serve was called out – hawkeye showed it to be in (but can we believe hawkeye – it was shown to be several inches – inches! – in error the other day), and the umpire awarded the point to Murray. It all hinged on when the out call was made, berdych’s claim being that he was disturbed by it. Actually, Berdych made quite a funny comment, I thought, after the umpire had said that in the end, it was a matter of judgement. “Oh, judgement is it”, says Tomas, “well why not just judge that Murray has won the match, why play at all. Why live at all, we all know we’re going to die, what’s the point of going through this farce of breathing and so forth!” Well, actually, the last sentence was my own – but I thought it was in the spirit of the proceedings….

Amazing match in the sense that both players were error strewn, but interspersed amongst the howlers – for instance, when Berdych was in despair and ready for the taking, Murray hits the ball a couple of metres wide for no particular reason that i could see – were outstanding shots, magnificent defence, from both men. Not a dull match by any reckoning.

So, Berdych has just missed out on being the 3rd person to beat Murray 4 times in a row. Apparently, he is one of 5 to beat him 3 times on the trot.

Wog boy Says:

Berdych had a case to argue, he put the raquet on the ball. After A good chalenge by Andy the umpire awarded a point to Murray, usualy the point is replayed, we are talking about a match point, sort of, not any point. I was going for Andy, but he didn’t need this favour from a sleezy umpire.

Good night everybody, I have to record the rest of the matches, it is early wake up call tomorrow, another day another dollar.

racquet Says:

Mohammed, a sleezy umpire? I’ve heard it all now. He’s one of the top 3, imho.

margot Says:

Wog boy comms said they saw in a replay he’d put his racquet on the ball b4 the call.
Andy got wrong call earlier but made far less fuss, good.
Shades of old Andy in the second set and I started to think he didn’t want to win but I’ll take it and 3-2 looks so much better than 4-1. :)

grendel Says:

Michael – re the AO Open, it is true Federer’s form was exciting. But unfortunately, that is rarely relevant when it comes to facing Nadal.

About Nadal’s scheduling. Of course, you may be right. I doubt it, though. Generally speaking, several factors, and not just one, tend to contribute to far reaching decisions. It would only have been natural for Nadal to weigh the possibilities for himself at Dubai. I don’t see anything wrong with that – there is this strange expectancy that the great men of the sport we follow are someohow immune to the ambiguities which trouble the rest of us. I think that is romantic tosh, although I agree that the way I described Nadal’s thought process was a little unkind. I chose to emphasise this rather than that, if you see what I mean. Well, you know. I have my prejudices….

I was listening to Brian Moore the other day (on Desert Island Discs), a great rugby player I gather, although I don’t watch the sport any more. He was fascinating, and he made the point very strongly that players right at the top of sport – such as himself – were not normal (in their behaviour and thinking), and he was keen to agree that his behaviour sometimes bordered on the pathological. Of course, rugby is a violent game. But Moore came across as a deeply honest and engaging human being. If Nadal calculates that participation in such and such a tournament will, in the end, impact negatively on his career, it seems to me quite reasonable to avoid the tournament. And I also don’t expect him to tell the whole truth about it – who does?

Wog boy Says:

Racquet, you can be one of the top 3 and still make sleezy decision, look at the way he was trying to explain it to Berdych, it wasn’t convincing. That was my point.
Thierry Henry is one of the best footballers but that didn’t stop him to score against Ireland using hand and even celebrating after!
Margot, yes he did have racquet on the ball and that means, almost always, repeat the point/serve but not award the point, and that was my point.
Did you notice that Andy is limping only when he loses the

Epsilon Says:

Why do they all double double fault against Federer in this tournament?

grendel Says:

Berdych did some great returns of serve in the recent match, and also some wonderful volleys. Spot of the old curate’s egg I think, eh?

But it was Murray, as expected, who was the consistent returner. Correct me if I’m wrong, but in this match, at any rate, Murray’s return was strictly defensive, or mostly so. As you can see, I find myself changing my mind even as i write. Because although Murray would return the ball gently, he would often float it so that it might reach the opposing base line, and it apparently would be then difficult for Berdych to give it the crack he’d dearly have loved to do. So I suppose you could say, a defensive return with an offensive intent. Cunning bugger, you can see how such a tactic, almost way of being, could mislead and indeed infuriate an opponent.

Djokovic, it seems to me, eschews such subtleties and gives the ball a hefty whack, almost regardless as to the pace coming at him. In the circumstances, remarkable how he can be so accurate. Should be very interesting tomorrow to compare the respective retruns of serve.

Interestingly, Federer, who is not particularly noted for his return of serve (though Agassi once opined him to be the best)can not be so easily pinned down. Sometimes he can seem to be infuriatingly passive, sometimes stunningly aggressive. I wonder whether we, the spectators, get it right? For instance, maybe an apparent nothing return (why did he do that? what possible aim did he have in mind? why not just donate the point to his opponent and stop wasting all our times?)actually is loaded with spinning intent, but just hasn’t been timed properly. How can we tell? And then again, I think Federer has a bit of the Sampras ideology – sometimes (you can’t pin Federer down, he’s like Macavity). i.e., I’ve got my break, let’s play it nice and easy now, no need to get into a sweat, let old thingummy win his serve, won’t make any difference in the end….

margot Says:

grendel: the only time I can recall seeing Fed return really badly was, funnily enough against Berdych at Wimbledon. Time after time he’d plop
the ball right back into the middle centre of the court and, of course, the rest is history. That was strange.
BTW marking essays is great for “seeing” mistakes.

Dave Says:

Can Doctor Youzhny break Federer’s 75-consecutive match winning streak against players ranked outside of the Top 19? His last loss to a player ranked lower than No. 19 was at 2010 Halle to No. 32 Lleyton Hewitt, who has won more grass court matches than Pete Sampras.

grendel Says:

well, Federer is in great form, and Youzhny has never beaten him. But really. Is it sensible to come out with the intent of smacking every ball to the other side of oblivion? I mean, some of them came off – a couple of terrific strikes – but by and large Youzhny just donated this match to Federer. It wasn’t really a match in fact.

I understand that is harsh, but you can’t let your whole approach be determined by your dismal h2h. H2h’s, however lopsided, can be breached and quite often are. But Federer was merely cruising to day – he was allowed to do so. I thought there was a hint of desperation in Youzhny’s manner, and his energetic running to his chair in the breaks looked like a kind of wishful thinking.

Not ideal preparation for tough matches to come.

carlo Says:

Really was not a very competitive match imo, Federer v Youzhny, and I wouldn’t expect much better from a Tipsarevic v Djokovic match.

I missed Murray’s match but very relieved he won!

The other interesting match coming up – Delpo and Tsonga. I’ll be cheering for Delpo. Tsonga v Federer semi might be the more interesting semi, though.

Verdasco is going to beat Almagro – that’s my big ‘psychic’ prediction for the day.

jane Says:

^ carlo going out on a limb for Hotsauce; impressive! Good win for Andy; I knew he could turn it around with Berdych. Nole, meanwhile, is winning, but he’s not serving that well.

Iain Says:

Del Potro v Tsonga….

What does everyone think?

carlo Says:

it’s my big tip, jane. That’s the best I got. Hot Sauce FTW in 3. I was lucky to stay at the Fairmont Acapulco Princess once – what a lovely place!

lain , I pick Delpo but I’m a biased fan. I think the edge goes to Delpo because of his Rotterdam win over Jo. But Tsonga has a very good chance. Should be a good match.

carlo Says:

Delpo has to serve well, really well. And he also is pounding Tsonga’s backhand again.

grendel Says:

“Good win for Andy; I knew he could turn it around with Berdych.” jane, how could you possibly know that, considering Berdych has beaten Andy 3 times on the trot? Actually, the match became quite even, and Berdych was very close to turning it around – he was just too error prone. It was an odd but enjoyable match.

Sriram Says:

It is getting tight, i am sure to see 3 sets and a close one here, tsonga has an edge seeing delpo struggling fitness.

dari Says:

Can’t watch now, checking scoresx though. Go delpooo

jane Says:

i wrote about it yesterday grendel: firstly, one of Berdych’s wins over Murray was in 2006, the 2010 win was on clay, and Berdych got to the semis at RG that year and finals of Wimbledon; i.e., he was on a roll, beating Muzz, Fed, Nole, etc. Last year’s win happened in Paris, late in the season, and Murray just came off that hip injury he got before Basel, and yet the match was still really close. So while I didn’t “know” it for sure, obviously, I figured it (perhaps the quibble is with the word “knew”). It’s not like a 3-1 H2H is insurmountable anyhow – it’s just a handful of matches. And now it’s 3-2. Besides all that, Murray usually plays well versus powerful hitters (Tsonga, Delpo) so I just thought that he’ll get the handle of Berd too.

grendel Says:

yes, but “thought” and “knew” are not the same, are they? Personally, I think Murray and Berdych are rather evenly matched, with, of course, very different types of strengths.

grendel Says:

I’m taping the delpo/tsonga match as have to go out – I’m trying to pretend I haven’t read any comments on progess, well, I’ve just caught glimpses, and they’re not conclusive…I look forward to watching it…..

margot Says:

Fed beats Delpot beats Tsonga beats Fed- how strange some match ups are.
jane: Go girl with your faith in Andy! Agree with your analysis of their past matches too. Grendel loves Berdych so is biased….;)

alison hodge Says:

great wins for murray,nole and roger,hope delpo can join them,great field this week,and some great semis in waiting,plus a great final to look forward to,unfortunatly its been the same old chestnut for me,work getting in the way,t.berd had a great year in 2010,beating those players,i thought he would be a dead cert to go on and win a slam,but somehow he never went onto build on that,still a tricky oponent for any of the top 4,and just glad murray got through today.

alison hodge Says:

hi jane just wondering if you read my question on the andy murray football thread?

jane Says:

grendel, ” Personally, I think Murray and Berdych are rather evenly matched, with, of course, very different types of strengths.” Hmmm, I don’t know; are you speaking just in terms of their match up only or w.r.t. their results/level all round. If it’s the latter then I disagree; if it’s the former, then I think their rivalry is too new to know (because 05/06 are so long ago am mainly thinking of their three recent matches, so 2-1 for Berd). I realize “thought” and “knew” are different in their denotations. But I wasn’t pretending to be psychic. So wrong word: sorry.

margot, can’t help it! :)

hi alison, have lived all over Canada actually, so not sure where I am “from” :) but am on the west coast now – yes, it’s a lovely, spacious country. Back to tennis though.

alison hodge Says:

thanks jane i do envy you,i would love to go back there again one day,sorry ill let you get back to your tennis now.

carlo Says:

Well, I ‘felt’ like Murray would win but wasn’t very sure. Their H2H wasn’t anything to go on. Murray wasn’t fit or something at WTF. But the rumors Berdych would win were there to scare me.

Great 1st set Tsonga and Delpo. But after losing the 1st set TB, Tsonga wasn’t into fighting, it appeared.

I’m not feeling Murray or Delpo through to the final but hoping for them – wins over Nole and Roger is what they need. Come on.

carlo Says:

Having respect is good. But too much of it doesn’t help Delpo get a win over Federer. That Rotterdam final and AO quarterfinal still bother me.

carlo Says:

300 points would look good on Juan Martin :D

He must feel good being in a semi as one of the top guys again – very proud of him.

No time like now to start changing that losing streak vs Federer Vamos Delpo

Humble Rafa Says:

The Arrogant One vs The Elf. Wow.

carlo Says:

What? no mocking for the Egglover v mr. Lady Forehand match?

Such favoritism for the elf and arrogant one.

alison hodge Says:

carlo it would be great to have a delpo muzza final,the two underdogs,instead of the predictable two,(no offence fed or nole fans),and like you say, no better time than for delpo to turn that loosing record against fed around,would be glad for delpo or muzza to grab the title,although been a brit i would have to root for muzza,go muzza go delpo.

carlo Says:

thanks alison.

I doubt it will happen – Murray Delpo final. If it does, I think I cheer for Murray too because he would have beaten No1e, which I consider as good as getting this title. And going forward, Murray could use the confidence to win a GS! It’s still my mantra.

During the match, I probably cheer del Potro but in these cases I never know ; ) One of them picks me. I think I’d be quite happy enough for JMDP to beat Federer.

alison hodge Says:

think positive carlo,my lifes been pretty crap just lately,but i try to stay positive,not always easy though i know,anyway i agree a murray win against nole would boost his confidence in winning his first gs,but imagine delpo beating fed,then murray or nole,as well as having beaten tsonga,would mean the come backs well and truely back on track.

alison hodge Says:

carlo tsongas a very talented tricky oponent for any of the top 4,but im just wondering how much can we read into delpos form in best of 3 set tourneys,would a player of tsongas calibre be able to regroup and turn a match around in a 5 set gs?or to put it another way a player of tsongas calibre is more than capable of turning a match around in a best of 5 set gs,like against fed at wimby last year,whod of thought that?

Humble Rafa Says:

no mocking for the Egglover v mr. Lady Forehand match?

No brownie points for guessing who is going choke in this match.

In the other match, Elf has a chance to win.

rogerafa Says:

@ Humble Rafa

You are pretty harsh on Andy, aren’t you? I do agree that the Elf is playing brilliantly. There is every chance that the Arrogant One will be humbled tomorrow unless the Elf starts feeling the strain of three straight weeks of work.

rogerafa Says:

@ carlo

I do not think Del Potro’s respect for Roger is a barrier. After all, he won their biggest encounter showing tremendous valor. We also have to give some credit to Roger even if Del Potro was not at his best in some of their matches.

jamie Says:

I think Nole will beat Murray(my prediction).

jamie Says:

…and Olderer will beat Del Potro.(my prediction).

In the final Nole spanks Olderer.(my prediction).

marrisv Says:

i have a feeling Murray may winn this… He is usually very tough in these 3 setter tournaments when he is mentally in it.

At least we have got one awesome semi lined up… Not sure about Fed-Delpo matchup…

Delpo for me doesn’t have a plan B with these top guys yet and even before the injury he didn’t have. If his plan A game of crunching the ball doesn’t work, he doesn’t have a fallback. Also his serve may be strong, but is too predictable and doesn’t go for the corners much in my feeling.

He has never beaten Murray on a hardcourt, had to go the distance to get his two wins over Federer and got his first win over Novak after Nole pulled out with an injury in the DC match.

grendel Says:

jane: about Berdych and Murray. They just strike me as pretty evenly matched when I watch them, that’s all. No deep, or even shallow, analysis, nothing like that. And of course, they are so different this adds spice to their encounters. Even their volleying is different, and whereas I have always been a fan of Murray’s volleying, I do believe Berdych is almost as good now – he really has improved in that department.

The contrast makes for compelling viewing even when – as today – the tennis was erratic. Personally, I thought the Tsonga/Delpo match was a touch dull. I suspect Delpo/Federer will be a humdinger

The match could have gone either way today. In the end, Berdych paid the price for too many errors.

Of course I didn’t think you were claiming to be psychic. You were being, how shall we say, vigorously enthusiastic on behalf of your chap. I took exception. That’s how it goes.

grendel Says:

alison:”would a player of tsongas calibre be able to regroup and turn a match around in a 5 set gs?”
I think your point is sound. The first set was pretty even, and I think in the tiebreak, Tsonga doublefaulted. At any rate, the shootout went the other way, and Tsonga seemed to be disheartened. He was kind of coming back towards the end, so if it had been a 5 setter, who knows? Second wind, and so forth…

bstevens Says:

After a slow start, the Djokovic-Murray rivalry is becoming interesting. First it was the close match at Rome last year and then of course their excellent match at the Aussie Open. I hope that they can deliver another chapter tomorrow. Btw, Federer will now play Del Potro in his 3rd consecutive tournament (Aussie Open, Rotterdam, Dubai). I hope that Del Potro can put up a better fight this time.

Kimmi Says:

How did you know that carlo? verdasco beat almagro indeed, i need to wake up?

hot sauce is back?

jane Says:

grendel, “I suspect Delpo/Federer will be a humdinger” – interesting – I’m curious as to why? Their last two matches (AO & Rotterdam) have been kind of dull. No contest really.

jamie Says:

Psychic Predictions for 2012:

AO: Djokovic(duh)

FO: Nadal

Wimbledon: Murray

Olympics: Federer

USO: Djokovic

carlo Says:

Not big news. I still wont pick him to go far at IW, Kimmi. But it is something I have been thinking since before AO about Verdasco – that Hot Sauce is going to make a small comeback this year. But picking him vs Almagro is just picking one choker over another, it was pure luck who wins. I think when Nando is confident he is better than Nico on hc and maybe about the same on clay? I felt like Nico wasn’t going to make the final 2 years in a row in Acapulco, basically. I was more picking against Almagro.

alison, I didn’t watch Tsonga v Federer Wimbledon so I don’t know. But Tsonga lost to Nishikori in 5 sets at AO – wasn’t too impressed with Tsonga. Before that match, the last thing I thought was Nishikori winning. Delpo is underrated amongst posters here lol ; ) del Potro was impressive in a 5 setter when he won US Open. Delpo can be very strong mentally. He broke Tsonga’s will today in that tie break. He will be stronger mentally than Tsonga very soon, imo.

I pick….Murray -Djokovic as the more competitive semi-final in Dubai. But the most fun matches, imo, have been in Acapulco. Wawrinka is getting better, Kimmi! Chardy on a little comeback – clay court, that is.

Kimmi Says:

ferrer looking to win acapulco again carlo. he is like little rafa in south american swing. who can stop him?

Murray is due for a win against nole i feel. A major win would be idealt but dubai win wouldnt hurt, he needs to start somewhere i guess Go muzza.

If only i can relax when watching fed play, i would enjoy this match. I hope delpo is drawn to somebody else next time. go fed!

jane Says:

carlo, I’m interested to see if Gulbis can win another match tomorrow at Delray, and also whether the Tomic/Isner meeting will turn out to be a good match – very different styles, and they’ve never played.

I feel like Murray is in better form than Nole: am thinking it’ll be a Murray/Fed final. I don’t think Delpo will beat Fed, but I am basing that on their last two matches, which haven’t been competitive. So I don’t know. Delpo did just win in France so maybe that will light a fire? We’ll see.

Kimmi Says:

I cheer for muzza but i feel nole will win. I am sure he will turn up pumped. I have watched nole play too many times I guess. he might not look sharp against guys he knows he can beat but the moment he meets the big boys, watch out. I could be wrong! we will see.

carlo Says:

rogerafa – Roger gets credit, certainly. He is still ATP #3 and he’s not there by pure luck or his opponents sucking. Full credit for winning as he has.

Humble Highness – we’ll see. you might be right but Murray is due for a choke-free win soon. He’s on the phone to Ivan the Terrible.

carlo Says:

ah Kimmi, If only I could give you some of my delpo-love. It really changes the complexion of a Federer-Delpo contest.

Ferrer sort of the obvious pick, I think. He is too good for Wawa or anyone there, including Hot Sauce.

I’m going to set an alarm and try to watch Murray-Nole. But Dubai is so early! I haven’t been able to watch 1st matches live from there at all.

carlo Says:

jane – are you maybe, perhaps, taking some pressure off Nole? ;) ah course, you would know him better than I do but I do like watching No1e. okay, I have your pick. you pick Murray-Fed.

Here’s mine. Warm -up for IW naturally.

1) Nole- Fed Nole wins
2) Murray-Fed Murray wins
3) Nole- del Potro Nole wins
4) Murray- del Potro Murray wins

Gulbis really annoys me. He will win vs Marinko Matusevic? ( only if it’s not too difficult conditions and points are won quickly, ie the serve is working and ball bashing goes well – not too long rallies)

I think Isner comes through but mostly because it’s delray. Something has been off about Isner the last couple weeks. Tomic has a good chance.

I cheer for Muzza, absolutely nothing personal ; ) No1e is fantastic. Fed is well, =Legend.

Angel Says:

Carlo, It’s a Murray-Djokovic match, how are you not going to see it? Set the alarm and wake up to watch the best tennis in the world. Come on.

jane Says:

carlo, at times today Nole’s first serve percentage was in the low 50s; he hasn’t served well (aside from solid second serves which have helped a lot). Murray is a great returner so he could take advantage; that’s really my thinking in short. Plus, I sort of feel like Murray is “due” or something. I said the other day, or today (?), that I don’t think it matters much who wins this one actually – not too much at stake. Maybe a little more pressure for Murray if anything, as he’ll want to get a win after a couple close ones. Nole’s won this event 3xs in a row now, so not much pressure on him imo.

I think if Fed reaches the final he has a great shot against both Murray and Nole if he plays aggressively. This is a fast hardcourt after all, and it’s best of three. Fed could bring his blitzkrieg mode and so long as he sustains it he has a very strong chance of winning. Not much separating these guys at the top. 50-50 a lot of the times, aside from matchup issues in some cases, e.g., Fedal of course.

Angel Says:

Carlo, I do think you are underestimating Federer because of his age, a lot of people are but I think he is still playing really good tennis at the moment and I wouldn’t count him out for this title.
Bye Carlo and don’t forget to set the alarm.

Dave Says:

Dubai’s faster courts — compared to slower surfaces in recent years — should impact the chances of Federer, Djokovic, Murray and Delpo. Tennis Mag’s Peter Bodo on the risk, reward, consequnecs and pleasure of tennis on fast courts versus slow courts.

carlo Says:

Angel :D I agree, it’s Murray – Nole. Come on, carlo. Ajde haha…i’ll try.

carlo Says:

yes. i do take some edge off Federer because of 30 going on 31. But he’s still good and I do like it when he proves me wrong.

carlo Says:

jane – he hasn’t served great and look who he’s played. He hasn’t had to focus. I mean full credit again to Federer but he does match well with all of them. Then again Federer does match well with so many! The ONE match-up is Nadal on in every venue and surface but indoor fast hc. That is another story.

Federer has earned his place and I have plenty to say on Fedal H2H; was tempted to write myself silly more than once over the past week but it is pointless. Federer needs no defending. I have reformed. Anyway…

For fans who keep up with as many tournaments as us, there is something to feeling someone is “due.” Not always right but it’s a nice thought and sometimes true. Murray is DUE for a GS, that’s, that! lol I don’t know who will win Dubai and no, it’s not as important in the big picture 2012. Could be a confidence booster though, considering the big names tomorrow.

I used to think “if fed reaches the final he will win” and thought it a lot for at least several years while he was holding #1. That feeling has long disappeared, jane. It went to Nadal and now, Nole, that feeling.

Was having that feeling about Santiago Giraldo when I saw him v Berlocq. Santi has been losing for too long, he’s due. And it’s a good match. Loud Match hahaa

Michael Says:


re the AO Open, it is true Federer’s form was exciting. But unfortunately, that is rarely relevant when it comes to facing Nadal.

A bitter truth and I need to accept it rather grudgingly. I was the one who was vociferously defending Roger whenever the H2H quotient of Nadal came into picture. It is all about match-ups in Tennis. Right after the Australian Open defeat, I had to change my mindset and accept the inevitable and ie. Roger doesn’t have the confidence in his game against Nadal. Nothing explains it more better. It is more psychological and Nadal had beaten him in the mind game. As simple as that.

Regarding Nadal not participating in Dubai, true you have your assumptions and it may or may not be true. Nothing can be said for certain. But I base my opinion on Nadal winning this tournament in 2006 beating Roger. Champions may be calculative and scheming and there is nothing wrong in that. It is career promotion which is important in their mind and Nadal is no exception to the golden rule.

carlo Says:

Oops sorry Jane. I thought you put up that service stat about Federer. That was Nole….oh, okay. Makes more sense. I am attempting to multi-task. fail.

Nole will serve well when he has to and he hasn’t had to. That’s my full confidence in him speaking. Murray will need to raise his game. It will be good.

Federer gives me the feeling he is already showing his best serving – at least against LOpez. He didn’t need his best against Llodra or Youzhny. You know me and watching Federer serve. I love his serve and it can win him one match these days and go missing the next. The serve has to be there on the big points in the big moments. My confidence is in Nole the most.

carlo Says:

about Santi, I didn’t mean he will win Acapulco. Just gave him a good shot at winning v Berlocq and making the semifinal. Watching the match now – Giraldo v Berlocq

grendel Says:


Bodo can be an annoying man (as opposed to splendid chaps like you and me), but I think he was spot on in the link you provide. Personally, I’ve derived a lot of pleasure in watching Federer quickstepping on the fast courts this week. There’s always 2 (or 3…) sides to a story, though, and there are those who appreciate the slowing down of the courts. Other peoples’ tastes can be incomprehensible…

@carlo 11.27

don’t you find that when Federer’s serve is on, it’s not only majestic but SEEMS sort of simple? You can’t imagine why it would ever go wrong. You even vaguely wonder why every first serve isn’t an ace. The more perfect something is, the easier it looks – a delusion, of course, but a common one, I think. I wonder if this partly accounts for the huge pleasure one derives from watching this approximation to perfection – at some level, you almost feel as if you’re doing it yourself. You understand that this is nonsense, but it doesn’t stop you experiencing a sort of pride. Strange.

“Their last two matches (AO & Rotterdam) have been kind of dull. No contest really.” (re delPo and Fed). Well, partly I was homing in on the vivid contrast in styles, as with Murray/Berdych. But in any case, I wouldn’t accept that “no contest” is necessarily “dull”. You can take aesthetic pleasure in a glorious display of skills, and this doesn’t necessarily have to come from one of your favourites – though that certainly helps.

However, I don’t agree that at the AO, it was no contest. I think it was in the first set, and del Potro was threatening. Federer was clearly nervous – one imagines the memory banks were tuning into what happened in the 2nd set at the US 2009 – and he fought like hell to maintain his advantage. That was very gripping indeed. Once Federer was clearly ahead, the tension dissipated, it is true. But we’d had our money’s worth of adrenalin flow.

The thing is, leaving aside the fact that Federer has been known to wobble when under extreme pressure, del Potro is class – everybody knows that. There is a giant performer lurking under that hesitant exterior, and he hasn’t come good yet. We are all wondering – when will that day come? Will it be today? His form has been promising, so you never know.

Sienna Says:

Dave, Thanks for the Lendl link and comments. He was after Fed my all time great. Lendl is oft overlooked in that department. He was a killer. You would not know if you only look at stats off slamfinals won or lost. But he totally stool my heart attemting to win Wimbledon. So close yet so far away. SOmeone who works the remaining of his career to become a better serve and volley player when he was dominating clayslams and HC slams is a Champion of champions.

tennisfan Says:

the more one sees Federer, the more one realizes how classy he is. Age is no barrier for this champion and clearly the way he came back after 0-5 in TB, saved 4 sp’s from 2-5 and finally won the match at 8-6 goes on to show how motivated he is this year to achieve his goals.

Ever Wondered what’s the Key to success for Federer, here is a nice article: Roger Federer & His Secret of Success?

carlo Says:

Yes, grendel, Federer’s serve is to me, one of the most beautiful motions to watch in tennis. And he must have ridiculously strong core muscles along with many other gifts of co-ordination to serve like that. He makes it appears effortless. I like other serves – dolgopolov is another favorite, but I’d hardly describe his serve as effortless or beautiful like Federer’s, even though it’s perhaps even more intriguing.

carlo Says:

I am a complete Lindsey Vonn fangirl and when I watch her ski and win downhill races – I am her. lol.
Simple pleasure, since I’ll never be so talented.

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