Friday, July 25, 2008

Rogers Cup Quarterfinals Preview

We've got some great matchups set for today in Toronto. In the wide open first quarter that included those two despairing top players we picked apart the last few days, Croatian teen Marin Cilic and summer surprise Gilles Simon face off. Simon has to be favored simply because he's on a winning streak.

Nicolas Kiefer will play James Blake, the highest seed remaining in the top half, in the second quarter. Can't trust James to pull this out, but if he keeps his head and plays his game, he really ought to. Kiefer enjoys the summer hardcourts and his game is well-suited to the blue stuff, but he's simply not mentally engaged in big matches anymore. We'll see if he can turn that around today.

Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic could be a barnburner. Or a demolition. And I'm not saying who will demolish whom.

And the match of the day ought to be Richard Gasquet against Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal. I've said it before and mean it again, but I believe Rafa's game on the summer hardcourts has suffered from his tough losses in Wimbledon finals over the past two seasons. Well, this year, that monkey is off his back and he's playing with confidence instead of despair. Richie has had success in Toronto and seems in good form after his beatdown of David Ferrer late last night.

Who do you think will make the final four?


oddman said...

Rafa will prevail over Richie. You're right, no despair, only upside for Rafa right now. Looks healthy too. Altho I still cringe watching him switch direction and hearing those shoes squeak...

oddman said...

Oh, hell, I'm feeling expansive - how about Blake, Simon, and Djoker to round it out?

Helen W said...

Despite some of the big names departing early, there are some block-buster matches in the quarters. Which speaks well of the depth in the ATP at the moment.

Too bad I will miss most of the action at a cat show :)

sgh07 said...

Are you guys watching Nadal vs Gasquet?.It´s really becoming a good match.

If can go to
to watch it :)

oddman said...

Yes, saw it, fabulous first set. And great finish by Rafa! Kudos to Richard for hanging in there, he played superbly in the first, and didn't go away - until later. Too bad, but am glad Rafa is into the semi's. Vamos!

oddman said...

Pfffft. What a lousy picker I am - two out of four right. A coin flip could do as well.

sgh07 said...

well, it was a good first set, but the other two were pretty one-sided no?
oddman, I hope your picks come true! I like them!

Tennisity said...

Kudos to Andy Murray for stepping up his game today. As a huge federer fan, I'm rooting for all the underdogs in hopes of keeping the top seeds away from the coveted number one ranking.

oddman said...

Murray played well, Djoke not so much. Rafa has a great H2H against Gasquet. Not so against AndyM. I think this match will be a tough one for Rafa, but believe Rafa will pull through again. As Craig says, he's playing with confidence this year, riding the wave of that Wimbledon win. Good chance to add a few points too, after losing the Stuttgart ones. Kiefer, he of the Heaviness, I think will be wily enough to get by Simon. Amazing that the usual hardcourt suspects are gone. If Rafa wins today, methinks he's looking real good to claim another MS shield.

Vamos, Rafito!

Craig Hickman said...

Funny how people tend to forget Rafa won Rogers Cup- Montreal in 2005, the year before his Wimbledon runs.

Rafa can play hardcourt tennis, he just hasn't made it to the final four of the USO yet.

It's mental.

Craig Hickman said...

oddman, Rafa is 4-0 against Andy the Younger.

oddman said...

Whaaaa? No, I really thought AndyM had a couple of wins over him. Now where in Hades did I get that?

I really have to shut up. And check my facts before shooting my mouth off.

(red red face!)

(and I have NOT forgotten Rafa's won on hc, no way, Rafa-Agassi one of my favorite matches. I meant the other usual suspects - Fed, AndyR, Djoke)

Karen said...


I was looking forward to your take on Andy R's loss and what he needs to do to get back in the groove. Plenty of time for that though.

This is GVGirl, not to be confused with the other Karen.

Karen said...

GV,when I saw that I was like, OK when did I post that. You really had me worried there for a minute. How ya doing anyway? What is your take on what is happening with Roger these days? Any views?

Craig Hickman said...

Hey Karen GV,

Nice to see you!

I feel like I've written that post too many times to write it again.

But I probably will sometime later this calendar.

Like you said, plenty of time for that.