Tag: ATP Tennis
Considering what a brilliant summer Andy Murray has had this year, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that as the last grand slam of the season closes in, the 25-year-old Scotsman comes in as one of the tournament’s favorites. This is by far Andy Murray’s best year yet, and considering the momentum he has build over the last two mayor tournaments, and the fact that Rafael Nadal will be missing out on the Flushing Meadows action, many believe that this is as good a chance to win his first grand slam. Let’s not forget that Murray has reached 4 Grand Slam Finals, and has loss to Roger Federer in each and every one of them. Including his latest run at the Wimbledon Championships. Sure enough Murray became the only British player to reach the Wimbledon men’s singles final in the Open Era.
But a few weeks later, and playing once again at the Centre Court of the All England Club in Wimbledon, it was going to be Andy Murray the man taking the win before his countryman at the London 2012 Summer Olympics. His opponent for the Olympic gold medal was none other than the man who had denied him a Grand Slam titles all this year: Roger Federer. Talk about poetic justice; truth is that Murray on the other hand denied Federer the only one tournament he hasn’t win yet: the Olympic Men’s singles gold medal. So what happened in his opening matchup against No. 73 ranked Russian Alex Bogomolov in the first round of the US Open was very unexpected. Don’t get me wrong here, Murray went on to win the game in three straight sets, 6-2, 6-4, 6-1, but it was far away from the confidence booster that his closes rivals would had love to see from him.
For the better part of the match Murray looked very uneasy. Alex Bogomolov managed to brake his first two service games and was down a break and 2-4 in the second set before he began to look remotely comfortable. For a moment there he was as far away from a Grand Slam winning form as anyone could wish, but without missing a beat, he dig deep inside of him and managed to get things running soon enough. He never panicked and that allowed him to get things under control. Murray managed to even things at 4-4, and then won 8 of the next 9 games for a 6-2, 6-4, 6-1 win to dissipate any doubts about his game.
Perhaps he will get significantly better as he starts to play more and more games in the fast courts of Flushing Meadows. Let’s not forget that most of Murray’s struggles on his match against Bogomolov can be attributed to a lack of hard court preparation coming into the tournament. Murray played just three hard court matches leading up to the Open. At the Toronto Masters he won a round but then withdrew prior to his second round match with a knee injury. At the Cincinnati Masters a week later he lost in the second round, to unseeded Jeremy Chardy. He played thirteen games in grass courts in preparation to both Wimbledon and the London 2012 Olympics. Now, let’s only hope that he can make the needed adjustments as soon as possible and that he can be a real contender for the 2012 US Open title.
Let it there be no doubt: Rafael Nadal is the King of Clay. He was the No. 1 favorite to win this tournament and he didn’t let his fans down. The 26-year-old Spaniard was playing at his favorite tournament over his favorite surface and against his latest archrival. All the ingredients for a perfect Grand Slam Recipe was there, and even thought most fans would had loved to see Novak Djokovic put up a little more of a fight, at the end, the Spaniard came clear with a 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 win to clinch his 7th French Open Title. To put that into perspective, let’s consider that with his latest win he has now won his 11th Grand Slam and that at lucky number 7th, Nadal has broken a tie with Bjorn Borg for the same mark. Now, it is time to give him all the credit he deserves, Rafael Nadal is the King of Clay. Let it there be no doubt about this one, he is the best player to have ever competed in this surface.
Because despite what your opinion might be in regards to the young Spanish pro, one thing is for certain, he has won more times here than anyone else. As a matter of fact, no other player has so many times in the other Grand Slams. His dominance over the clay courts of Paris has made him virtually unbeatable. Since he played here first played in the French Open back in May 2005, when he was only 18 years old, Nadal has lost only one game. That is a 52-1 record in this tournament. His only lost came in 2009 when he lost to Robin Soderling in the fourth round. But it’s not just the in the French Open that he has been a dominant player. Wherever there is clay, Rafa Nadal has won a mayor. Just look at the numbers: Nadal’s won eight titles at Monte Carlo, seven at Barcelona and six at Rome. Enough said.
Now, beating the No.1 ranked Novak Djokovic wasn’t as easy as it might seem by looking only at the scoreboard. Let’s not forget that before the game got canceled on Sunday because of rain, the No.1 ranked player was cutting down on his big deficit and had won 8 straight games to get back in the matchup. That’s not all, deep inside, Rafael Nadal knew very well that Novak Djokovic had beaten him in the finals at Wimbledon in July, the U.S. Open in September, and the Australian Open in January. But just like he did with Roger Federer in 2006 and 2007, the years when the Swiss Maestro was one Grand Slam away from joining Don Budge in 1938, and Rod Laver in 1962 and 1969 as the only players to have won the four Grand Slams in succession, Rafael Nadal came with his strong game in Paris to put an end to their dreams. Well, just like it happened to Federer when he got his chance, it was Nadal who got on his way. Now, the fight is on. Federer is slowing down as age is catching up to him. Nadal has won 11 grand slams. But up ahead we have Wimbledon, and it seems that it is Federer and Djokovic who will have the advantage this time around.
In 2009, Juan Martín del Potro, the Argentinean tennis star, defeated Roger Federer in the US Open Title. It was the end of Federer dominance at the Medowlands and it was the last time that Juan Martín showed his full potential. A series of injuries kept him from defending his title the following year and kept on pushing him behind in the rankings. So when Del Potro managed to reach the ABN Amro World Tennis final, many saw this one as a sign that his was recovering his form.
Still, Juan Martin would had to play the legendary Roger Federer on Sunday for the championship match. At the end, it would be up to the Swiss Maestro to defeat Juan Martin del Potro 6-1, 6-4 and take the win at the ABN Amro World Tennis. This is Roger Federer’s first title of the year. The top-seeded Roger Federer reached the ABN Amro World Tennis final with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Nikolay Davydenko on Saturday’ semifinals. Juan Martin del Potro, the third-seeded Argentine, was able to overpower second-seeded Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-1 in the other semifinal.
In the final match, Roger Federer jumped to a 5-0 lead in the first set. This early deficit took a very high toll on del Potro’s mindset and his game just kept showing his lack of concentration. It’s not just that Federer was having a good day, truth is that del Potro was clearly making uncharacteristic errors. Del Potro tried to regain his form and took a 2-1 lead in the second set. But it was too little and too late to actually slow down Federer, who would down Del Potro with a phenomenal attack. Roger Federer won five of the next seven games to close the match.
“For me, it all began in 1999 when I reached the quarterfinals here,” Federer said in the postgame conference. “Even now, the expectations were high throughout the tournament. I am happy I was able to fulfill the expectations.”
The tennis fans in Rotterdam hadn’t seen the Swiss Maestro since he won the title back in 2005. Juan Martin del Potro, on the other hand, was playing in the tournament for the first time. But his experience could had been a lot better. Del Potro won just seven points on his serve in the first set. That was a bit too much to recover from a 5-0 deficit. Even though the Argentine’s game improved throught the match, del Potro simply failed to execute in the most important points of the game. It was as if del Potro just couldn’t find a way to beat Federer on the key points. And that made all the difference.
Roger Federer once again proved that he is still one of the sports’ finest, even if he has been overshadowed by Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic lately. Still, Federer took a 4-2 lead before serving out the match to win his 71st career title. He saved all seven break points he faced and broke del Potro three times.
“I have managed to restore my rhythm,” Federer said at the end of the game “The match against Davydenko was a good warm-up for the match against del Potro.”
Novak Djokovic wasn’t playing his sharpest game in the first five matches of this tournament. It wasn’t the sweetest kickoff for his summer hard-court campaign at the Rogers Cup in Montreal. But his game sort of clicked in just a little bit since that first game. It would only take the usual two sets to send home Nikolay Davydenko, Marin Cilic and Gael Monfils. By the semifinals it was all looking a bit too easy for the Djoker. Wilfried Tsonga quit after going down a set and a break in the semifinals, saying his arm was tired.
Stanley fish put up a better fight in the finals, but it wouldn’t be enough to outplay Novak Djokovic. Despite a good comeback in the second set, Stanley Fish just couldn’t keep up his good rhythm and Djokovic took a 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 win. As one would expect Djokovic claimed a victory in his first tournament as world No. 1 and a record five Masters wins this season. Some were wondering if Djokovic had lost his momentum after the Wimbledon break. Well, get ready, because the Djoker is just getting started.
Even if you are not that into professional tennis, you’ve got to give it up for Serb Novak Djokovic. Let’s put this into the right perspective. We are talking about a guy who has only lost one game since winning the finals of last year’s Davis Cup. Djokovic is 53-1 for the season, just short of equaling John McEnroe’s 54-1 start to the year in 1984.
The one game he lost came at the semifinals of the French Open, on the clay surface of Roland Garros, a terrain that we all know is his weakest playing surface. And yet there is a bit more to be said about Djokovic’s only defeat this season. He lost to the guy who had dominated the tour for the better part of the last decade and was just short of matching the guy we all expected him to defeat for the Roland Garros Title: Spaniard Rafael Nadal.
The King of Clay had been invincible at Paris. We had quite the impression that he was going to turn it around. Djokovic had only to do what he had done in the previous two clay-court tournaments: defeat Nadal in the final. Perhaps what many weren’t expecting was to see the Djoker leaving Paris a round too early.
Now we are back to the fast courts of North America. We are all getting ready for the final stretch, for the last Grand Slam of the season: the US Open. Djokovic certainly wants to keep on winning, getting close to breaking McEnroe’s record. On the other hand, he also should consider taking some rest. Although Djokovic said he would play Cincinnati as planned, he looked a little tired at times during the Montreal final. Not only that but this summer has been extremely hot this year, and he could be vulnerable in the heat after some long matches. Only Patrick Rafter in 1996 and Andy Roddick in 2003 have won in Canada, in Cincinnati and at Flushing Meadows at one stretch. I guess we would have to wait just a bit more to see if that is yet another record Djokovic can break.