Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wimbledon 2011 - Third and Fourth Rounds

Juan Martin Del Potro
Number one Rafael Nadal beat Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 7-6, 7-6, 6-0 in the third round Friday/Saturday.  On Monday Rafa took on Juan Martin Del Potro, the 24th seeded player from Argentina who is looking to climb the rankings.  Del Potro beat Gilles Simon of France 7-6, 7-6, 7-5 in the third round, but on Monday he did not have the same luck as he lost to Nadal 7-6, 3-6, 7-6, 6-4.  The game was intense and they both had thier ups and downs.  Delpo definetly had a shot at winning this one especially when Rafa had a bit of a knee injury.  Tempers flared for both players as Nadal argued a point.  It is unusual for him to get angry about it like he did, especially at Wimbledon.  As Nadal got back to his usual ways Del Potro showed his anger and frustration of the long and physically draining match by smashing his racquet down during a change over.

Nadal after he defeated Del Potro.
No. 2 ranked Novak Dkojovic has to put up a tough fight against Marcos Baghdatis.  Novak won 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and in the fourth round he had no problem beating Michael Llodra of France 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.  Novak will take on Bernard Tomic of Australia in the quarters and honestly Tomic doesn't have a chance.

Novak after he beat Llodra.
Federer beat David Nalbandian in straight sets 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 in his third rounder.  Fed had more of a challenge in the fourth round but still came out victorious, beating Mikhail Youzhhny of Russia 6-7, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.  Roger will play Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France in the quarterfinals.

Fed playing against Youzhny.
Andy Murray has kept the dreams of the British alive of being the first person from Britain to win Wimbledon in a long long time.  He beat Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 and went on to beat No. 17 Richard Gasquet of France who I thought would give him problems, but Murray prevailed 7-6, 6-3, 6-2.  Murray will play Feliciano Lopez of Spain in the quarters and you got to give the edge to Murray in that one.

No. 5 Robin Soderling was upset in the third round losing to Bernard Tomic of Australia 6-1, 6-4, 7-5.

No. 6 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic beat Alex Bogomolov Jr. of the USA quite easily 6-2, 6-4, 6-3.  Berdych who is last years runner up failed to equal or beat that bench mark when he lost to the American Mardy Fish in the fourth round.  Mardy will play Nadal in the quarterfinals.

Mardy pumps his fist after a winner against Berdych.
Ferrer dodged a bullet when he was almost upset by Ryan Harrison back in the second round and in the third round he took care of business, beating Karol Beck of Slovakia 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.  In the fourth round though he didnt have such luck, losing to the Frenchmen Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 3-6, 4-6, 6-7.

Tsonga after he upset Ferrer.
No. 8 Andy Roddick of the US could not reach it back to the final of Wimbledon like he did in 2009 after his third round loss to Feliciano Lopez of Spain 6-7, 6-7, 4-6.

Gael Monfils who is seeded number nine also lost in the third round to Lukasz Kubot 3-6, 6-3, 3-6, 3-6.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wimbledon 2011 - First Two Rounds

Wimbledon, one of four Slam events in tennis is underway.  The tourney started Monday with Nadal breezing through his match on Centre against Michael Russel 6-4, 6-2, 6-2.  It is tradition for the defending champion to play his first match on Centre Court.

"I started so-so in the first set, but after that I start to hit very well the forehand and I think I finished playing a very good level," Nadal said.

On Day 3 Rafa beat Ryan Sweeting 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 and will now play in the third round on Friday against Gilles Muller.

Novak Djokovic has also reached the 3rd round quite easily, defeating Jeremy Chardy of France 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 and in the second round beating Kevin Anderson of South Africa 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.  Novak will face the always tough No. 32 Marcos Baghdatis.

Novak dives across the court to hit a backhand.

Roger Federer returned to Wimbledon to try and gain his 17th Grand Slam trophy.  In the first round Roger beat Mikhail Kukushkin 7-6, 6-4, 6-2 and in the second round he beat Adrain Mannarino of France 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.  Federer will play David Nalbandian who is seeded 28th and will put up a strong fight against Federer, making for a great match.

The pressure is on Murray as he plays in his home country but so far he has been able to keep it at bay as he will play in round three.  In his first round match he beat Daniel Gimeno-Traver of Spain 4-6, 6-3, 6-0, 6-0 and in his second round match Murray defeated Tobias Kamke of Germany 6-3, 6-3, 7-5.  Murray is scheduled to take on Ivan Ljubicic in round three.

Lleyton after going up two sets to zero.

No. 5 Robin Soderling of Sweden Philipp Petzschner of Germany in his first round match 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 and then went on to play a great round two match against former number one Lleyton Hewitt of Australia.  Hewitt played great and almost got Soderling going up two sets to zero but Robin came through and won the last three taking the match 6-7, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-4.

Robin celebrating his victory of Hewitt.
No. 6 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic is back after a loss in the first round of the French Open.  In his first match he beat Filippo Volandri of Italy 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 and in his second he defeated Julien Benneteau of France 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.  Berdych was the runner up in Wimbledon last year and is a real threat to make that run again this year.  He will face Alex Bogomolov Jr. of the USA.

No. 7 David Ferrer of Spain Won his first rounder against Benoit Paire of France 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.  Ferrer's second round match is postponed due to light and will be finished Friday.  He is currently down two sets to one against the up and coming Ryan Harrison of the USA.

Roddick after his victory over Hanescu.
Andy Roddick of the United States and number eight in the world beat Andreas Beck of Germany 6-4, 7-6, 6-3 and then went on to beat Victor Hanescu 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.  Roddick has performed very well at Wimbledon and was a runner up in 2009.  Andy will play Feliciano Lopez of Spain who should give him a tough match.

Gael Monfils of France who is the ninth seed in the tourney beat Matthias Bachinger of Germany 6-4, 7-6, 6-3 in the first round and beat Grega Zemlja of Slovakia 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 7-6.  Monfils should win his third round match against Lukasz Kubot of Poland.

Monfils about to serve.
The United States also has Mardy Fish in the top ten and he is into the third round with victories over Marcel Granollers of Spain 7-6, 7-6, 6-4 and Denis Istomin 7-6, 6-4, 6-4.  The American will take on Robin Haase of the Netherlands in round three.

Mardy hitting a backhand in his second round match against Istomin.
Juan Martin Del Potro, former number five in the world and 2009 U.S. Open Champion is climbing his way back toward the top after sitting out all of 2010.  He beat Flavio Cipolla of Italy 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 and in a match that took more then one day, Delpo beat Olivier Rochus of Belgium 6-7, 6-1, 6-0, 6-4.  In the third round Juan Martin will take on Gilles Simon of France.

Juan Martin Del Potro
Their are many other notable players that have made it into the third round.  As stated earlier Gilles Simon is the third round.  Richard Gasquet is in the third as well as Tsonga.  Nicolas Almagro of Spain defeated John Isner of the United States to get a bid into round three.

Some upsets were Victor Troicki losing to an unranked player in round two.  Wawrinka also lost in the second.

Jurgen Melzer won his first rounder but his second rounder has been postponed and will be played Friday.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Queen's Club Final 2011

Sorry guys I am out of town right now and this is the only time I could get on and get you the updates on the Queen's Club Final.  Monday Jo-Wilfried Tsonga took on Andy Murray in the Queen's final.

Murray won  3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4, obtaining his first title of the year against fifth-seeded Tsonga of France.

The match which was supposed to be played on Sunday but was postponed until Monday due to rain in the area.

This is Murray's second time winning, the other coming in 2009.  He is also the first Briton since Francis Gordon Lowe won it in 1913-14 and in 1925.  Tsonga on the other hand was the fifth Frenchmen to reach the final in the open era.  In 1995 Guy Forget lost to Pete Sampras, in 2003 and 2004 Sebastien Grosjean lost to Andy Roddick and in 2009 Andy Murray beat Nicolas Mahut.

In the match both players played at tremendous and showed off their athleticism.  Murray seemed to have the edge in speed but Tsonga had more willingness to come to the net. 

At 1-1 Tsonga just dogged a break point when a dropshot barely caught the net and fell in Tsonga's favor.  Tsonga broke at love to lead the first set 4-2, fighting off two more break points and taking the set.

The second set the play was much closer.  With Murray leading 4-3, Tsonga fought off four break points.  At 5-5 Murray held off two break points.  He then proceeded to win the last five points of the tiebreak.

In the final set Murray was the only one to earn a break point.  On his 10th break point of the match, Murray took a 3-2 lead when Tsonga sent a forehand out wide.

“It was an unbelievable week for me,” Murray said. “I started off not playing great but managed to find my way through, and the last two matches were so much fun.”

“I really look forward to Wimbledon. It’s been great preparation this week and I’ll work hard the next five or six days to get ready.”

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The 2011 Queen's Club - Semifinals

Andy Murray came out firing today as he defeated Andy Roddick quite easily 6-3, 6-1.  Murray will now be in the final at Queen's Club.

Roddick made many errors against the former 2009 champion who put on a great all-around performance, winning in just 59 minutes.

Roddick was going for fifth title at Queen's club, which would make him the first person to do so.

“It was just one of those days,” Murray said. “I hardly missed a ball and that doesn’t happen too often on tour. Everything that touched my racquet was going in and it felt great out there."

“I got off to a good start. Andy’s one of the toughest guys on the tour to break, and I managed to get up an early break in both sets, which helped.”

Roddick sent a back-hand slice which gave Murray a break and a 2-0 lead in the first set which ended up determining the winner of set one.

At the beginning of the second set Roddick sent a forehand volley into the net causing another early break for Murray.  Murray then went up 4-1 when he broke Roddick for a second time in the set when Andy Roddick had another error at the net.  Murray was into the finals when Roddick sent a weak backhand into the net for a fourth break.

“He played great,” Roddick said. “I felt like I hit the ball well. I just thought he played too good today.

“I mixed it up. I tried going in at different sides. You try different things. He just played better than I did. Everything he touched turned to gold.”

Even though Roddick lost badly he isn't all that concerned as Wimbledon draws nearer.  

“I think fine-tuning more so than inventing the wheel next week,” he said. “Again, I think he did a lot right today. I don’t think I did a whole lot wrong. Maybe just execution on a couple balls, so I feel good going into the off week.”

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat James Ward 6-3, 7-6 (7) in the semis today ending his pretty amazing run in this tourney. 

Tsonga broke to lead 2-0 early in the match and later held off two break points at 3-1.  He then went on to take the set.

Ranked no. 216, Ward beat 4th seeded Wawrinka and defending champ Sam Querrey earlier in the tournament to get to the semis.  He broke for a 2-0 lead in the second set.

Tsonga came back though and at 4-2 down he broke back on his 4th break point and ended winning the match on his 2nd match point in the tiebreak.

Tsonga will be playing his first ATP tournament on grass against Andy Murray.  He has though won two challenger titles on grass.

“I was a little bit worried in the second set,” Tsonga said. “He had one occasion to break me and I came back. It was fantastic to win in two sets because in the third set, with the crowd with him, it would be difficult.”

The 2011 Queen's Club - Quarterfinals

Huge upset yesterday in the quarters as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeated the No. 1 player in the world Rafael Nadal 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-1.

In this match Tsonga shot 25 aces and kept Nadal on his heels with his strong baseline play and smooth net play. 

Only two points were played before the match was interrupted by rain.  Nadal decided to stay out and sign autographs despite the rain and the court being covered.

When play resumed Nadal took the first set and in the sixth game fought off a break point.  Rafa did fail to convert three break points when it was 5-5, but he ended up claiming the last five points of the tiebreak. 

In the second set both players exchanged breaks and then Tsonga broke again to lead 5-4.  He then served out the set. 

Rafa missed a very important forehand volley at the net on game point.  Tsonga ended up breaking Nadal early 1-0.   This got Tsonga going and he dominated the rest of the match.

Nadal will now go back to Mallorca and prepare for Wimbledon.  

"Probably after losing the second set mentally I lost my concentration,” Nadal said. “The negative thing is I lost. The positive thing is I have few days off and can stop a little bit mentally. I can be a little bit more relaxed, because every day I play with pressure.”

 Andy Roddick absolutely destroyed Fernando Verdasco winning 6-2, 6-2. 

Early in the match Andy took a  lead 2-1 after breaking Verdasco and in the fifth game he did it again taking a 4-1 lead. 

In the second set Roddick still dominated, breaking again to go up 2-1 and holding at 3-1 before the rains interrupted play.

Once play resumed after an hour and 45 minute delay, Roddick quickly took control again by breaking Fernando.

Andy failed to convert two match points on Verdasco's serve, but won the match in the next game on a second-serve ace for his fourth match point.

“My first rain delay of the year is out of the way,” Roddick said.

The surprise of the tournament, James Ward is also into the semis after his defeat of Adrian Mannarino of France 6-2, 6-7 (14), 6-4.

Ward, ranked 217th won his eighth match  point after Adrian Mannarino previously saved seven of them in the second set.  He will face Tsonga in his first ever ATP semifinal on Saturday.

“Obviously I’m delighted to get through,” Ward said. “I never felt like giving up—even after the second set—I hung in there and waited for the chances to come. A bit of luck at the end and I came through.”

Andy Murray received a walkover into the semifinals after Miran Cilic withdrew due to an ankle injury.  Murray will face Roddick in the semis.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The 2011 Queen's Club - Round 3

On Thursday the third round matches took place.  On Court 1 Fernando Verdasco played David Nalbandian.  This was the best match of the week so far.  Nalbandian was playing his usual smooth style with his two-handed backhand against Verdasco's powerful lefty forehand. 

Out of the two David looks like the better overall player but Fernando played the best he could getting out of a few break points and really using his forehand to take control.  Verdasco justs gets by and wins the first set 7-5 on a powerful forehand that was returned just wide by Nalbandian.  In the second set Fernando breaks David and he instantly falls apart.  Verdasco ends up winning 7-5, 6-1.

Next up on court one was Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Michael Llodra both of France.  Tsonga can be an explosive player.  He started the match of with an ace and it looked like he would be in control of the match.  He has gotten rid of his coach and he just wants to find that independence he once had.  Tsonga has been playing at the top of his game and has just been fun to watch recently.  Leading 4-3 the rains came and there was around an hour delay.  When the rain subsided Llodra had retired do to a upper leg injury.

Sadly one of my favorite tennis players lost in the next match on Court 1.  Juan Martin Del Potro lost to the Frenchmen Adrian Mannarino 6-7 (3-7), 6-7 (7-9).  In the first point of the game, Adrain dropped an awesome drop shot right over the net and from that point on you knew the Frenchmen was going to be a tricky opponent.  Mannarino has nothing special about his game, he just works hard and executes.  I was surprised when Delpo lost but that's how it goes. We all know Delpo isn't the best on grass and Thursday he played passively and that is a recipe for disaster for Juan Martin on the grass.  Adrian took the initiative and went for winners early and kept the rallies short.  There was some luck for Mannarino as everything seemed to be going his way.  He played at the top of his level.  Juan Martin del Potro is the better tennis player by far just Mannarino survived everything del Potro threw at him and had a career day.
Adrian Mannarino

Marin Cilic
The last match of the day on Court 1 was Marin Cilic and Thomaz Bellucci.  The match started out well but then kinda went downward.  With the scored tied 3-3, deuce, Cilic limped of the court into the chair and called for a trainer.  He messed up his right ankle and had it bandaged and iced.  The delay took quite a long time but Cilic came out firing with two backhand winners to break.  Despite the break, Bellucci had the match for the taking because Cilic could barely move.  The only problem was Thomaz seemed to lose his way and the first set went to Marin.  Finally Bellucci woke up and took the second set 6-0 as it got darker and colder.  In the third set Bellucci fell apart again and gave up an early break.  He then called for a trainer and eventually lost the match 7-6 (7-3), 0-6, 6-3 in a game that was determined by which player could be less self-destructive.

Over on Centre Court the top 3, Nadal, Murray and Roddick all won their matches and are into the quarterfinals. 

Nadal won in three sets against Radek Stepanek 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, advancing to the quarters at the Queen's Club. 

“I think I played much better than yesterday,” Nadal said. “I was playing a very confident match but at 5-3, 40-15 he played well and I made a few mistakes. But the turning point of the match was the beginning of the third set, especially the first game, was tough, and after that I think I played my best.”

Roddick, who is going after his 5th title at the Queen's Club, beat Kevin Anderson of South Africa 6-4, 6-4 and Murray beat Janko Tipsarevic 6-4, 7-6 (3).

Also, earlier today James Ward upset Sam Querrey 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.  Ward also upset Wawrinka in the second round.  Ward is now in the quarters.

Here is how the quarters look:  Verdasco vs. Roddick, Cilic vs. Murray, Nadal vs. Tsonga and Ward vs. Mannarino.

Come back tomorrow for updates on the quarters.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Jun. 6-12 - The Queen's Club - 1st and 2nd rounds

Earlier this week the Aegon Championship, also known as The Queen's Club began.  It is the first warm up for Wimbledon and it starts the grass season.

Just three days after his victory in Paris, Nadal started his campaign toward winning Wimbledon.  On Wednesday he beat Aussie qualifier Matthew Ebden 6-4, 6-4 in the second round.  Nadal received a bye in the first round as well as the top eight players in this tournament.

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer both withdrew from their first warm up for Wimbledon, but Rafa decided to participate even after just winning the French 3 days ago.  “To celebrate the victory, I’m going to have time later,” Nadal said. “I have to be focused on the grass-court season.”

Nadal struggled a little bit in his opening match but that is usual when switching from clay to grass that quickly.  It’s impossible to be playing well the first day,” said Nadal, the 2008 Wimbledon champion. “The energy is not in the perfect condition right now but I’m here to try my best as usual."

“I’m here because I love this tournament … but at the same time, it works for me to try to start to have the feelings on grass. Sure, my conditions are not perfect because I feel everything (his muscles) a little more tighter than usual.”

Nadal on the grass at The Queen's Club.
In his first match there were constant rain delays and Andy Murray's extended match which both kept Nadal in the locker room much longer then he wanted. 

Andy Murray defeated Xavier Malisse in the second round 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 to set up a third round match against Janko Tipsarevic.  The 2009 Queen's champ said his ankle is still bothering him as he starts his journey to gain his first Grand Slam title.

“I want to play as many matches as possible, but I also want to go into Wimbledon pain free,” Murray said. “Obviously playing on it and doing what I did at the French Open is not exactly the best course of action to get the ankle better.

In other matches eighth-seeded Marian Cilic of Croatia advanced to the third round, beating French qualifier Arnaud Clement 6-4, 6-4.

Twelfth-seeded Juan Martin Del Potro won his match first round match beating Denis Istomin  6-4, 6-2 and his second round match against Igor Kunitsyn winning 6-4, 6-4. 

Third-seeded Andy Roddick won his second round match against Feliciano Lopez 7-6 (7-2), 6-7 (5-7), 6-4.

Seventh-seed Verdasco beat Nicolas Mahut 6-2, 6-3 and Fifth-seeded Frenchmen Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is into the third round after a defeat of Michael Berrer 6-0, 6-1. 

Fernando Verdasco
In the second round fourth-seeded Stan Wawrinka was upset by James Ward of Great Britain.  Sam Querrey of the U.S. won his 1st and 2nd round match.

Sixth-seeded Gilles Simon of France withdrew due to injury from his second round  match after winning the second set and being up 3-0 in the third.  This led to Adrian Mannarino also of France going to the third round.

Come back tomorrow for 3rd round updates.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Roland Garros 2011 - Men's Final

Rafa is once again crowned the king of the clay.  Today he beat Roger Federer in the finals of the French Open in Paris 7-5, 7-6 (3), 5-7, 6-1.  Roger Federer, the player with the most Grand Slam titles, was defeated for the fourth time in the French final by Nadal.

With this victory Nadal tied Bjorn Borg at six for the most titles at Roland Garros. This was Rafa's 10th career Grand Slam victory.  Fed hit the final shot long and instantly Rafa dropped to his knees and covered his face.

"To win this final against one of the best players in the world and in history is something which is really fantastic for me," said Nadal, who will keep his No. 1 ranking. "It's one of my most beautiful dreams."

Rafael Nadal's record at Roland Garros is now 45-1 with a 17-8 record against Federer.  Rafa is 6-2 against Roger in Grand Slam finals.

Rafa and Fed battle for a point in the French final on Court Philippe Chatrier.
"As it often happens, he is the best on clay," Federer said. "He proved it once again."

Behind Borg, Rafa is the second youngest man to reach 10 major titles.  Also, Rafa is about six months younger than Roger was when he won his 10th major.

Against opponents other than Rafa, Fed is 14-1 in Grand Slam finals.  Roger has four loses against Nadal at RG, one at Wimbledon and one at the Aussie Open.  Federer has beat Rafa twice at Wimbledon.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Roland Garros 2011 - Men's Semifinal

The streak is over.  Novak Djokovic lost to Roger Federer in the semis yesterday, ending his perfect season and his 43 game winning streak.  Federer who has won 16 Grand Slams won 7-6 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5) on Friday and will now face 5-time French Open Champ Rafa Nadal in the final.  This is the fourth time in six years they have met in the final.

"I've trained a lot during my whole life for these kinds of matches," Federer said. "There was an enormous amount of pressure on Novak and he really played well."

Earlier Nadal breezed though his semifinal match on Court Philippe Chatrier, defeating Andy Murray in straight sets 6-4,7-5, 6-4.  Nadal is just one victory away from matching Bjorn Borg in number of French titles.  Nadal's record is no 44-1 at Roland Garros.  On Sunday, Nadal is going for his sixth win in eight attempts against Federer in Grand Slam finals.

"Beating Novak today was maybe a good birthday gift for him because he lost his four previous matches against Novak," Federer said of Nadal, who turned 25 on Friday. "I'm going to play against Nadal, my main rival, in another Grand Slam final. We live for these moments."

Also, Li Na just won the women's title today, beating Francesca Schiavone 6-4, 7-6 (0).  She is the first person from China to win a Grand Slam.