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Wimbledon – Djokovic, Ferrer and del Potro, move into the second round

by on Jun.25, 2013, under Sports News, Tennis

There are few other news coming around from the first few days at the All English Club in London as important or as shocking as Rafael Nadal losing to Steve Darcis from Belgium in his first round matchup. We were really not expecting this one to go this particular way. Anyhow, without missing a beat, the Serbian Novak Djokovic was able to overcome a loss to Nadal in the semifinals of the French Open and, in his first game over lawn, he defeated Florian Mayer of Germany, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 earlier today. The top seeded Djokovic had a little more trouble than he would had expected in the first round, but it didn’t matter much. The Djoker is trying to secure his second title at Wimbledon and it seems that he’s quite capable of making the switch from clay to grass without a single practice game.

Djokovic manged to win here two years ago, when he was putting together one of the most impressive winning streaks we have seen in the Open Era. That same year, he managed to win at least once in each of the four grand slams: The Australian Open, the Roland Garros, Wimbledon, and the US Open. “It was a big pleasure again performing here on Centre Court in front of the packed crowd,” Djokovic said in the postgame press conference. “For the first round, it was tricky. … I think (Mayer’s) game is really well suited for grass, so it took a lot of effort.”

Spaniard David Ferrer, on the other hand, had a little trouble of his own. Considering he just finished as a runner up in the French Open, where he lost to his compatriot Rafael Nadal in his first ever Grand Slam Final, his opening performance at Wimbledon was a bit lackluster. He overcame a second-set slump and a scary late fall to beat Martin Alund of Argentina 6-1, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2. For a moment it looked as if Spain’s two best-ranked players were going to be left out in the first round. Alund won the second set and pushed hard in the third. Ferrer, however, managed to hold his ground and he broke for a 6-5 lead and then went 5-1 up in the fourth. At that point, this game could had certainly gone either way. At 3-1, however, he fell and grimaced in pain after his left foot slid backward on the grass. He got up after the fall and took over the rest of the game.

The eight-seeded Argentinean Juan Martin del Potro returned to the grand slam circuit with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-1 win over Albert Ramos of Spain. DelPo, as he is also called by his fans, had to miss the French Open because of respiratory problems. He sure looked fine tuned for this one. The big-hitting player from Tandil, Argentina, had 34 winners, including 10 aces, and advanced to to the second round at the All England Club in all of his six appearances. As part of the other highlights, 20-year-old Bernard Tomic from Australia’s defeated 21st-seeded Sam Querrey of the United States in five sets. Tomic is by far the most promising player in the tour coming from the land down under.

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US Open – Andy Murray is looking like a title contender at Flushing Meadows

by on Sep.04, 2012, under Sports News, Tennis

It seems as if the Olympic Gold medal Andy Murray obtained at the London 2012 Summer Olympics have certainly helped him get in the right state of mind to keep on showing that he might just have what it takes to get into the elite trio of Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Let’s not forget that just a few weeks earlier, in the same grass courts of the All English Club, Andy Murray had managed his way up to the Wimbledon’s final, were he eventually lost to Roger Federer. But in a nice touch of fate, Murray would go on and face this Swiss Maestro again in the gold medal matchup in the London Olympics. And this time, for the first time in 5 distinct shots, it would be Murray taking the win and his first Olympic medal.

Now, it seems as if he has been able to translate some of that momentum into a solid performance in the US Open that is certainly making him look like one of the favorite to go on and give both Novak Djokovic, the US Open defending Champion, and Roger Federer, in his route to a record-breaking 18th Grand Slam title, a good run for their money. After beating Milos Raonic, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2, last night, he made it quite clear that this is the best tennis we’ve seen him play ever, and that he is ready to go and get his first Grand Slam title. His recent performances have been phenomenal and after the surgically precise win over Raonic, Murray has now reached his 8th consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal.

Don’t let the overwhelming score make you think for a second that Milos Raonic was not a brilliant contestant. Just consider the following statistics to make up your mind about Raonic. The 21-year-old’s best weapon is his serve. He came into the match with 89 aces in three matches, this is 21 more aces than the Argentinean Nicolas Almagro, who had played four games. His fastest serve was clocked at 143 mph, one off the tournament high established by John Isner. As a matter of fact the Canadian (although born in Montenegro) pro who currently resides in Monte Carlo hit 14 aces for the game. That included one bullet that hit 140 mph on the radar. And yet, Andy Murray made it look real easy as he toyed with the ATP World Tour’s No. 16-ranked player. It looks as if the confidence boost has given Murray the trust he needs to star playing towards the lines under pressure and his artillery seems now much more diverse and effective on the key games.

“I used a lot of variation tonight,” Murray said in the postgame press conference. “Milos has a massive game. I had to guess sometimes. I was lucky, because they fly past you and sometimes you get a racket on it. Tonight I got a racket on it.” Now it’s really up to him to find a way to get back in the game and bring back home his first mayor. He has the motivation, and to make it a bit easier, Rafa Nadal is out resting his sore knee. This looks like his best shot yet. Let’s see if he can get it.

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US Open – Andy Murray struggles a bit against Bogomolov

by on Aug.28, 2012, under Sports News, 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. 

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US Open – Rafael Nadal won but showed signs of weakness

by on Sep.06, 2011, under Sports News, Tennis

Rafael Nadal dismissed David Nalbandian on the fourth round of the US Open. The 2002 Wimbledon runner-up David Nalbandian 7-6 (5), 6-1, 7-5 fell to the defending champion on a muggy afternoon with the temperature in the 80s. But no play in the game would be as shocking as the moments of tension lived by fans and reporters alike during the press conference. With little warning, and not even sure fo what was going on, Rafael Nadal was holding on to his leg and began to slide down his chair. He was leaning awkwardly over the chair and sliding down to the floor. His expression revealed that whatever it was that afflicted him (for at that point, only Nadal knew what was going on) was extremely painful. He called for a trainer just as he slid under the table and out of everyone’s eyesight. Painful cramps th simultaneously hit his right hamstring and thigh two hours after he had ended his game with Nalbandian.

Rafael Nadal had the best season of his career in 2010. He won at the French Open, at Wimbledon and by the time the tour hit the US Open, Nadal was the No. 1 player in the world and the No. 1 seed for the US Open. His way into the final was smooth and easy. He defeated Teymuraz Gabashvili, Denis Istomin, Gilles Simon, number 23 seed Feliciano López, number 8 seed Fernando Verdasco, and number 12 seed Mikhail Youzhny all without dropping a set, to reach his first US Open final. All of a sudden, he was only 1 game away from clinching his first US Open and reaching a career grand slam. Novak Djokovic, was going to make it just a little bit easier as he would play a heart stopping 5-set battle against Roger Federer in the semifinal. A well prepared Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic 6–4, 5–7, 6–4, 6–2 in the final.

Once again, Nadal is back at Flushing Meadows, this time as the defending champion and No. 2 seed of the US Open, but the circumstances have changed a bit since his appearance here last year. This time it is the Serbian Novak Djokovic who is dominating the season, having lost only two of his 61 games played in 2011. After the phenomenal year that Nadal had in 2010 it was expected for the 24-year-old Spaniard to keep his dominance in 2011, but he has been struggling with health issues that have kept him from playing at his best.

But 2011 would be Djokovic’s year. He has won at the Australian Open, he made it the semifinals of the French Open, won at Wimbledon and is now in the right track to win the US Open. If things go as expected, Djokovic should face Roger Federer in the semifinals. This will certainly be his chance to get back at Federer for breaking his winning streak in the French Open semis. If he does make it to the final, chances are that Rafael Nadal will be waiting for him there. And then it is on. Last year, it was Nadal who took the win. This time, it should make up for one epic battle, and should Djokovic win, it will be the perfect ending for the almost perfect season.

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