Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Day 10 at Roland Garros

Monfils and Federer
Roger is on to the semis where he will play Novak Djokovic after defeating Gael Monfils today 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (3).  Monfils played hard but just seemed to lack the confidence that he had when he played earlier matches.  I thought he would come out firing and win a set or two but that did not happen.  I was really hoping he'd win too because I feel Monfils has a better shot at beating Novak.  Djokovic has destroyed Federer lately and is unfamiliar with Monfils because they haven't played in over a years time. 

The only other men's match was Andy Murray and Viktor Troicki.  It was continued today after it was suspended last night at two sets a piece.  Murray finished Troicki off and is now in the quarters.  The score was 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5.  Murray will face Juan Ignacio Chela tomorrow.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Day 9 at The French Open

Today Gael Monfils reached the quarterfinals and finished what he started yesterday.  The match, which lasted two days because of darkness, was continued today and ended in celebration for Monfils.  He defeated the higher ranked player David Ferrer from Spain 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, 1-6, 8-6.  Monfils will have to play Roger Federer in the quarterfinals.

"Now I need to recover and at some point I'll stop losing against this Swiss," said Monfils, who has lost five of his six matches against Federer.

Over on court Philippe Chatrier Rafa increased his record to 42-1 at Roland Garros, trumping Ivan Ljubicic 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 to reach the quarters.

"I have improved since the tournament started," said Nadal, who was pushed to five sets in the first round. "I'm able to play better and I'm going to continue on this path."

Even though Novak Djokovic did not play today, he still reached the semis because quarterfinal opponent Fabio Fognini withdraw from the tournament due to injury.

              Andy Murray                                Viktor Troicki
Andy Murray and Viktor Troicki were even at two sets a piece today when their match was stopped due to poor seeing conditions.  The score at the time of stopage was 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Nadal will face the Swede Robin Soderling in the quarters after Robin defeated Gilles Simon of France 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (5).

"For me it will be a tough match," Nadal said minutes before Soderling completed his victory. "He's played two finals here at Roland Garros, so he knows what this means. He's got to play his best tennis."

Also, unseeded Juan Ignacio Chela defeated  Alejandro Falla of Colombia 4-6, 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2.  He is from Argentina and is the only non-European left in the men's draw.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Day 8 at Roland Garros

On Sunday in Paris Roger Federer extended his quarterfinal streak at majors to 28.  He beat Stan Wawrinka who is a fellow Swiss countrymen and also his Olympic doubles partner that he won a gold with.  The score was 6-3, 6-2, 7-5.  Roger is actually surprising me at how easily he has been playing and I think because no one is counting on him to win he has a solid chance at going the distance.

Of course Novak Djokovic is in the way.  He won today as well defeating Richard Gasquet on Court Philippe Chatrier.  The score was 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 and Novak's overall streak is now at 43 which started in December 2010 with two Davis Cup victories..  His streak is now the third longest since the open era began and now 41-0 in 2011, he is only one win away from tying all time great John McEnroe's streak which he set back in '84.

"As soon as he hits a return, he grabs you by the throat," said France's Gasquet.  Gasquet is a former top-10 player and 2007 Wimbledon semifinalist .  "To beat him, you need to produce the perfect match and not make any mistakes."

"He plays fast. He hits the ball really early. His return is colossal," Gasquet said. "He's got no weakness."

Federer has to face either No.7 David Ferrer or No. 9 Gael Monfils in the next round.  Their match was suspended due to darkness with Monfils in the lead 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, 0-2.  They will finish their fourth round match Monday on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

Gael Monfils
Novak on the other hand has to face the unseeded Italian Fabio Fognini.  Fabio beat Albert Montanes of Spain today 4-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 11-9.  The match lasted 4 hours and 22 minutes.

"I have to be honest. I didn't think I could win the match," Fognini said. "I couldn't move. I couldn't serve."

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Day 7 at Roland Garros

Anyway back to tennis.  Sadly Juan Martin Del Potro lost in the continuation of the tied 1 set to 1 match that was postponed due to the Tsonga and Wawrinka match taking forever and because of darkness.  Novak won two straight sets to win 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.  Djokovic's streak is now at 42 and he shows no signs of stopping and I think he is going to win the French unless my man Nadal steps up and defends his title.  Since that match was continued today Djokovic will have to play three straight days.  Tommorow he plays No. 13 Richard Gasquet of France.  If Novak gets to the final of the French he will overtake Nadal as No. 1 in the world so I'm thinking its pretty much inevitable.

Nadal hammered the Croatian qualifier Antonio Veic 6-1, 6-3, 6-0.  Nadal is 41-1 in his French Open career and is trying to go for title number six this year.  "Solutions don't come from heaven. I mean, you can't change everything in one day. And you know what? I had not forgotten how to play tennis for a week, but I played better today," said Nadal.  Rafa was pushed for the first time at Roland Garros to five sets in the first round.

Soderling also reached the fourth round today as did three time Grand Slam runner-up Andy Murray, No.15 Victor Troicki, No. 18 Gilles Simon and Ivan Ljubicic who is unseeded.  No. 4 Andy Murray won against Michael Berrer of Germany 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 even though he twisted his right ankle and later said he was not sure if he could play his next match.  France's Gilles Simon defeated No. 10 Mardy Fish who was the last American in the tournament 6-3. 6-4, 6-2 and Ljubicic defeated No. 16 Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 7-6 (6), 6-4.  Ivan will meet Nadal Monday.

UEFA Champions League Final - Manchester United vs FC Barcelona

Let me start out today's entries by talking about the Final of the UEFA Champions League.  I was out at a bar watching this with some people and I had a good time but mind that this was a GREAT performance by Barca.  They destroyed Man U and I thought it would be closer.  Specially when the game started out Man U had good tempo and was controlling the game.  Then the tide turns and Barca overcame the jitters when Pedro put one in for a 1-0 Barcelona lead in the 27th minute.  I thought then that once Barca gets one they could just keep going but Manchester quickly came back with a 34th minute goal by Wayne Rooney.  Great goal by Rooney, one of the best players in the game. The game was tied at the half and then the 2nd was all Barca.  They scored two goals, one in 54th minute by Lionel Messi the GREATEST PLAYER TODAY and one if not the most amazing goal in the Champions League this year.  He took three quick dribbles and launched a shot into the top right corner past Manchester keeper Edwin van der Sar.  Just 15 minutes later Messi set up David Villa with a 20 yard out shot that curled over van der Sar's outstretched arm for a goal in the top right corner.  The final was 3-1 Barca and I have to say it was one damn good match.  Congrats to Barcelona!!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Day 6 - Roland Garros

Earlier today before the Del Potro and Djokovic match Roger Federer beat No. 29 Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia in straight sets.  I didn't catch any of this match but I heard Federer just dominated.  He won 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 and is now in the 4th round for the 7th consecutive year. 

Then there was the Tsonga and Wawrinka match which I talked about earlier.  Good match just irritating if you wanted to see the Novak and Juan Martin match.  Wawrinka No. 14 did have an awesome comeback and I feel for Tsonga.  Jo-Wilfried Tsonga No. 17 was up 2 sets and was close to finishing out Stan in the 3rd when Wawrinka won in a tie break and from then on the wheels fell of for Jo-Wilfried.  The final was 4-6, 6-7 (3-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, 6-3. 

In a recap No. 7 David Ferrer won, beating No. 31 Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine 6-1, 6-1, 6-3.  No. 9 Gael Monfils of France dominated as well and for once only took 3 sets in a victory.  Albert Montanes of Spain defeated No. 12 Mikhail Youzhny of Russia 6-1, 7-6 (0), 6-1 and the man that faced Monfils in that thriller last year, Fabio Fognini of Italia defeated No. 30 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-1.

And one quick note on the women's side No. 1 in the world Caroline Wozniacki lost to Daniela Hantuchova 6-1, 6-3.  Also, No. 8 seed Sam Stosur who was a finalist last year and favored by many to win this year, lost to Gisela Dulko.  There have been some crazy upsets on the woman's side this year.

Del Potro vs Djokovic

Juan Martin Del Potro                                        Novak Djokovic
Today I was watching Tsonga and Wawrinka and was getting annoyed when Wawrinka started to come back.  Not because I'm a Tsonga fan or anything close to that, I just couldn't wait to the the match of the tourney so far: Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin Del Potro.  With Delpo getting better and better coming off a injury plagued 2010 season and a 2009 U.S. Open trophy vs the man of the hour Novak Djokovic who is 39-0 in 2011.  Now I myself am a huge Del Potro fan so I can't wait to see the rest of it tomorrow thanks to Tsonga coughing up his 2 set lead to Wawrinka, dragging it to 5 sets.   Anyway I was thinking it was over when Novak won the first set 6-3 but I shouldn't have thought that because Juan Martin came surging back winning the 2nd set 6-3 as well.  Now I can't wait to see the rest of this match.  It's going to be a great finish.

French Open Day 5 - Men's draw

Alright lets get to the men's side which i cover in much more detail just because that's what I really follow.  Yesterday No. 24 Sam Querrey, a fellow American finally lost not making it to the third round but hey its much improved over his first round exit last year.  He lost to Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-4.  Despite this No. 10 Mardy Fish now the last American in the field, kept on rolling and is now in the third round.  He defeated Robin Haase of the Netherlands 7-6(1), 6-2, 6-1.  He really took control toward the end there and showed us all he can go far in this tourney. 

No.8 Jurgen Melzer from Austria lost to Czech qualifier Lukas Rosol.  No.16 Verdasco of Spain and No.18 Simon of France won.  No. 20 Florian Mayer of Germany, No. 27 Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus and No. 32 Kevin Anderson of South Africa all fell.

I caught the last set of the Rafa Nadal and Pablo Andujar match and let me tell you Rafa is incredible.  He won the first two sets 7-5, 6-3 and you know is being tested by the tough fellow Spaniard.  People are questioning Nadal.  He ends up having one of his worst sets on clay in the third, trailing 1-5.  This guy though is a fighter because he didnt give up.  See I would of been like alright I'm done in the third and lets just get on to the fourth so i can start anew.  But Rafa he comes back and ties it 5-5 and ends up winning in a tie break 7-6 (4).  That is why this guy is one of my favorite tennis players.  Nadal should have an easy third round match against Antonio Veic of Croatia who knocked of No. 28 Nikolay Davydenko 3-6, 6-2, 7-5, 3-6, 6-1.

Nadal working his way back in the third set
Before Andy Murray made his comments on Twitter he was playing tennis against Simone Bolelli of Italy, beating him 7-6(3), 6-4, 7-5.  Murray is still looking for his first Grand Slam after losing three finals including this past Australian Open.

Robin Soderling of Sweden and the fifth seed of the tourney beat Spanish qualifier Albert Ramos in straight sets 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.  Soderling is pushing to finally be the champ at Roland Garros after two years of losing in the final in 2009 and 2010.

Soderling serving against Ramos

French Open Day 5 - Women's draw

Yesterday I happened to catch the Kim Clijsters match against Arantxa Rus.  Everyone including me was like the No.2 seed Clijsters has got this.  Turns out she loses to 114th ranked Rus 3-6, 7-5, 6-1.  Kim had two match points in the second set but failed to finish.
 Arantxa Rus

Anyway the match that really caught my eye was Maria Sharapova vs Caroline Garcia.  Garcia is only 17 and she won the first set and was up 4-1 in the second set and then all of a sudden the wheels fell off.  She lost her 11 games to lose 3-6,6-4, 6-0.  Even the great Andy Murray dubbed Caroline Garcia as being the next No.1 in the world on his Twitter account: "Girl sharapova is playing is going to be No.1 in world one day caroline garcia, what a player u heard it here 1st," the fourth-seeded Murray tweeted.  I'm sure after that he might of wished he didn't tweet it but hey Caroline shows lots of promise and its still possible that one day she could be a number 1.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Day 1-4 of the French Open

I wish I would of started this sooner because so much has happened in Paris this past week. Here's just some of the headlines at RG.

Day 1
No. 19 Marian Cilic is out.  He is the first seeded player to be elminated, losing to Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo of Spain 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4.  David Ferrer No. 7 seed from Spain had no problems, defeating Jarkko Nieminen of Finland 6-3, 6-3, 6-1.  Wawrinka No.14, Tsonga No.17, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez No. 30 and Sergiy Stakhovsky No.31 all advanced. Just two hourse before the tournament began Lleyton Hewitt, two-time Grand Slam champion withdrew.

Day 2

Novak Djokovic, my pick to win the tournament, kept his perfect streak alive defeating Thiemo de Bakker 6-2, 6-1, 6-3.  Roger Federer won in straight sets against the Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.  Lopez did not have a single break point, losing to Fed 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(3). The upset of the day was Tomas Berdych, a semifinalist last year, falling to a french qualifier in 5 sets.  Still though those stories did not receive as much attention as Novak's amazing streak which is at 38 this year and 40 if you count back into last year.  In other matches Gael Monfils No.9 of France, No. 10 Mardy Fish of U.S., Mikhail Youzhny No. 12 of Russia, Richard Gasquet No. 13 of France, Viktor Roicki No. 15 of Serbia, No.23 Thomaz Belluci of Brazil, No, 28 Nikolay Davydenko of Russia and No. 29 Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia all reached round two.  Two seeded men, No. 22 Michael Llodra of France and No. 26 Milos Raonic of Canada lost.

Day 3

Nadal opened his 20ll French open campaign against John Isner just barely coming through and winning 6-4, 6-7 (2), 6-7 (2), 6-2, 6-4.  It was the first time Rafa played 5 sets at Roland Garros.  Isner played tough and is seen as one of the players you do not want to play.  He has arguably the best serve on tour.  Despite this Rafa came through and kept his championship hopes alive.  The man for Great Britain, Andy Murray reached round #2 with a 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 win over French qualifier Eric Prodon.  Despite what the score might suggest  it was a tough match for Murray.  Soderling advanced with a 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-5 win over Ryan Harrison from the U.S. who was offered the spot after Benjamin Becker withdrew.  Sam Querrey also of the U.S. reached round two for the first time defeating Philipp Kohlschreiber 3-6,6-1,6-2,6-4. No. 8 Jurgen Melzer of Austria, No. 16 Fernando Verdasco of Spain, No. 18 Gilles Simon of France, No. 20 Florian Mayer of Germany, No.21 Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine and No. 32 Kevin Anderson of South Africa advanced.  No. 11 Nicolas Almagro of Spain lost in an upset to L. Kubot.

Day 4

Novak Djokovic continued his streak and is on to the third round after Victor Hanescu retired in the third set due to injury while trailing 6-4, 6-1, 2-3.  Roger Federer is into the thrid round as well.  He won in straight sets against Maxime Teixeira, a French wild card, 6-3, 6-0, 6-2.  David Ferrer No. 7 of Spain, No. 9 Gael Monfils of France, No. 12 Mikhail Youzhny of Russia, No, 13 Richard Gasquet of France, No. 14 Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland, No. 17 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, No. 23 Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil, No. 30 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain and No. 31 Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine and Juan Martin Del Potro, former U.S. Open Champion made it through.  Friday Djokovic will play Del Potro in a huge match that I can't wait to see.

Nadal vs Isner

Did any of you guys catch this one?  John Isner played his best game and I had no idea he could play at that level. I believe one day he could be a top player.  Yes, Rafa won and even though sometimes I feel obliged to root for a fellow American but I still wanted Rafa to win.  I mean how awful would it be to see the king of clay go down in round one?  Anyway it was great and Isner should be proud and I'm happy for him.  He pushed Nadal to his limits.   Never before had Rafa gone to 5 sets at RG.  I was worried there for a little specially when John went up 2 sets to 1 but soon he ran out of gas and Nadal got it going again with his stamina greatly contributing to his victory.  He survived the upset bid.

Hey Everyone

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I plan to cover all aspects of tennis in this blog from the latest news at Roland Garros to the newest tennis gear.  I hope you enjoy it and chose to follow me.