Friday, November 13, 2009

Face Of The Day

France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga reacts during his quarter final tennis match against Spain's Raphael Nadal at the ATP Paris Indoor Master tournament, on November 13, 2009 at the Palais-Omnisport-Paris-Bercy in Paris. Nadal won 7-5/7-5.
Getty

France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga reacts during his quarter final tennis match against Spain's Rafael Nadal at the ATP Paris Indoor Master tournament, on November 13, 2009 at the Palais-Omnisport-Paris-Bercy in Paris.

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Singles - Quarterfinals
[2] R Nadal (ESP) d [8] J Tsonga (FRA) 75 75
[3] N Djokovic (SRB) d [9] R Soderling (SWE) 64 16 63
[13] R Stepanek (CZE) d [5] J.M. del Potro (ARG) 40 ret. (abdominal strain)
[15] G Monfils (FRA) d [12] M Cilic (CRO) 36 64 64

Doubles - Quarterfinals
[1] D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) d C Kas (GER) / P Kohlschreiber (GER) 63 76(3)
[7] M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL) d [2] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) 64 76(7)
M Granollers (ESP) / T Robredo (ESP) d S Aspelin (SWE) / P Hanley (AUS) 63 67(3) 10-7

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Rafa's defeat of Tsonga ensured that Fernando Verdasco has qualified for the final eight in London.

Three out of four isn't bad.

30 comments:

vw said...

Too bad for Bryans. If Nestor and Z win this title it will be the only one Nestor does not own. Hoping he gets it.

Gilbert's new article:
http://bradgilbert.tennisweek.com/November 13, 2009
Bercy Bercy

Craig Hickman said...

Brad Gilbert writes?

What a concept.

oddman said...

Cackle, Craig. Yeah... he talks too... :)))

Damn - Nole-Rafa promises to be another barnburner of a match and I have to be away today. Bleaahh.

Vamos Rafa!

Karen said...

Oddman, believe me you do not want to see what is happening in Bercy right now. If you have TC I recommend that you do not want the first set or the first 2 games of the second set. It has been Novak all the way, but I think Nadal has him right where he wants him.

Helen W said...

Wow! What can you say? Nole played phenomenal tennis. Takes your breath away!

Craig Hickman said...

That is why I thought Tsonga would beat Rafa yesterday. Tsonga had been playing as aggressively and precisely as Djoke until facing Rafa, who played like an amateur all week.

If not for two gigantic chokes....

Rafa has forgotten how to play tennis. I don't doubt he'll remember again in 2010 but right now, he's not even bothering to make mid-match adjustments.

Tennis is so mental.

Karen said...

Craig, the mental part about tennis is so true. This is the first time in a long while that I have seen him play a match where he was not even chasing down shots. Novak was hitting winners left and right. Cross court backhand, cross court backhand, and then backhand up the line. At one point in the match Nadal did not win a point on his serve. I dont think I have seen Novak play this well in a long time. Never even faced a break point.

Craig Hickman said...

I think Djoke is playing so well right now because only his fans seemed to be focused on him. The hype machine moved on to Andy Murray, so wholly, that Djoke has been playing under the radar. Then when del Potro won the USO, he became a bit of the focus. But Murray is still being hyped as a future Slam winner, while Djoke already has one under his belt. (Interesting that neither of them made it to a Slam final this year.)

If I'm Djoke, I would hope that the pundits continue to look past him. He plays better without the expectations.

Karen said...

Craig, it would seem so. Another thing is that he seems to have a bit more confidence in his game right now, especially his volleys. I think taking on Martin (a good volleyer in his own way) has helped him tremendously. He was moving very well and was just going for his shots. Hopefully this will take the sting of that Madrid loss away (at least that is what people are saying
Monfils is such a choker. Has not been slicing all match and then when it comes to serve out the match he starts using a slice which encourages Stepanek to come in and Monfils cannot get the ball by him. Idiot. Why not stay with what has been working all match. hitting from the baseline. Idiot x2

Helen W said...

I gotta say that when Nole is playing well, his game is a thing of beauty. He's such a clean ball striker, he can move from side to side and continue to find corners and lines on both sides. His backhand is superb.

Karen said...

@HelenW, I can agree with that. While I had no horse in the race this morning just watching him play today was beautiful and when I was not cussing him out last week for beating my guy Roger last week, he played really well. He for some reason is staying in the moment these days which is good to see, apart from that breadstick in yesterday's match against Robin. As Craig said maybe with all the attention on Murray, Novak has finally come out of his shell.

Craig Hickman said...

I don't find anything at all about Djoke's game beautiful. I looks pedestrian to me. And all the contortions upset my eye.

But when he's on, he's accurate and that's impressive.

Karen said...

Craig, you dont find that backhand down the line beautiful. I think he has one of the best backhands that I have seen in a long time. His body rotation is almost perfect. He puts everything into it. Love that. His forehand can get a bit whippy but his backhand. Wish I had it instead of the crap one I now have.

Craig Hickman said...

Technically, his two-hander is very sound. Beautiful? Nah.

I don't find any two-handed backhand beautiful.

I actually think they're all rather ugly.

Karen said...

Ooh so you are a one handed man then (:) - I would never have guessed it. I actually play one handed backhands, what style do you play. I think you have some 2 handed backhands that are just superb - Novak, Nalbandian, who else, Serena's when it is on. Venus has a beautiful 2 handed backhand.

Craig Hickman said...

I really don't play tennis. I hit the ball, but I don't play tennis. Can't hit a backhand to save my life.

My favorite players have two-handed backhands. But I don't find them beautiful.

For aesthetics, a one-hander is to die for. The most beautiful I've seen in 20 years?

Gaston Gaudio.

Richard Gasquet and Amelie Mauresmo are tied for second, and are about .0001 points behind Gaudio.

There's only one player with a one-hander whose stroke has such a hitch in it I don't find it beautiful at all.

Karen said...

"There's only one player with a one-hander whose stroke has such a hitch in it I don't find it beautiful at all".
I wonder who that is.
A thing I just noticed in Basel was that most of the Swiss players play one handed backhands. I think Stan, Robredo, Almagro have very beautiful one handed backhands. They are able to generate so much top spin off it. The thing about Federer's backhand is the variety that he gets on it. Justine also has a really beautiful backhand. I agree with you that the one handed backhand is more beautiful than the 2 handers, but boy when some players are hitting it those 2 handers, it looks so good.

Craig Hickman said...

I wonder who that is.

::

You named the player.

Only one of them has a hitch.

Karen said...

I am so not going there - LOL

Graf_sampras said...

WHAT THESE TWO WONDERFUL , TALENTED YOUNG PLAYERS SAID:

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"There's not much to say about today's performance except it was perfect, you know, exactly the way I wanted it," said Djokovic.

"I was hitting winners from all over the court and really trying to keep that momentum going during the whole match," he added, summing up a spectacular performance.

Djokovic will play his fifth final and chase a first title this year in a Masters 1000 event while Monfils will feature in a final in the showcase series for the first time.

Spaniard Nadal, who has not won a title since beating Djokovic in the Rome Masters final last May, looked helpless at times and will now prepare for the November 22-29 World Tour Finals in London featuring the world's top eight players.

"PLAYED UNBELIEVABLE"

"I didn't play badly but he played unbelievable," said Nadal, who leads 14-6 against Djokovic but has now lost their last two meetings. "It's very difficult for me to beat him when he's playing that level, especially on a fast indoor court."

Graf_sampras said...

Djokovic Dismisses Nadal To Reach Paris Final By Tennis Week Saturday, November 14, 2009 Novak Djokovic dismissed Rafael Nadal, 6-2, 6-3, to reach his 10th final of the season, including his fifth Masters final.
© Action Images/ReutersNovak Djokovic has never been one to shrink from the challenges of change. Lately, Djokovic has been playing like a man intent on imposing diversity at the very top of tennis.

Six days after Djokovic dethroned defending champion and World No. 1 Roger Federer in his hometown of Basel, he was at it again in Paris.

In a superb performance of all-court aggression, Djokovic dismantled second-ranked Rafael Nadal, 6-2, 6-3, denying the Spaniard his 400th career victory, to storm into his ATP World Tour-best 10th tournament final of the season at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris today.

The rankings show Djokovic as the World No. 3, trailing the top-ranked Federer by 2,010 points, but during recent weeks of this indoor autumn season, Djokovic has clearly been the world's premier player.

The third-seeded Serbian extended his winning streak to 10 matches in advancing to his fifth Masters Series 1000 final of the season. Djokovic will face 15th-seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils in Sunday's final. Monfils overcame a second-set stumble that saw him surrender serve when serving for the match at 5-4 to defeant 2004 finalist Radek Stepanek, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4. Their rivalry dates back to the junior days, but Djokovic has dominated their professional meetings. He is 3-0 lifetime vs. Monfils with two of those three wins coming on hard court.

Four-time French Open champion Nadal has produced some of the most brilliant moments of his career on the red clay of Roland Garros and was bidding for his second Bercy final in the last three years. But Djokovic never let Nadal have any significant say in this semifinal.

Befuddling him with drop shots, banging deep drives into the corners and boldly taking the net with well-angled volleys, Djokovic delivered 31 winners against 14 unforced errors and did not face a break point in a performance of complete conviction.

Djokovic jumped out to a 4-1 second-set lead before Nadal pulled out a hard-fought hold.

At 15-30, the Serbian put together an exquisite shot combination in carving under a backhand drop shot that fluttered over the net forcing Nadal forward in pursuit. Anticipating the Spaniard's down-the-line reply, Djokovic moved to the spot and drilled a crosscourt backhand that dotted the edge of the sideline. He snapped an ace down the middle for game point and held with a leaping smash — initially called out but Hawk Eye replay showed that shot struck the baseline — for a 5-2 advantage.

Nadal held at love for 3-5, walking to his court-side seat to pick up a new racquet in an effort to stave off elimination.

Exhaling deeply, Djokovic played an aggressive, athletic point. Approaching behind a forehand, he extended his 6-foot-3 inch frame and flicked a full-stretch forehand volley winner. A Nadal error moved him two points from victory.

Nadal, who fought off five match points in his 3-6, 7-6(2), 7-5 win over Nicolas Almagro, momentarily stalled the match point march with a backhand pass down the line, but could not put his backhand return in play and it was match point.

Moving Nadal into the corner, Djokovic drilled a forehand winner down the line then punched both fists in the air in triumph. Nadal had won 14 of their prior 19 matches, but Djokovic now owns a 6-3 record in their hard-court encounters in raising his 2009 record to an ATP-best 75-18 on the season, including 50-10 on hard courts.

Djokovic is 4-5 in his nine finals this season, but will be the favorite in Sunday's final.

Graf_sampras said...

Gael Force: Monfils Moves Into Paris Final By Tennis Week Saturday, November 14, 2009 Gael Monfils faces Novak Djokovic in Sunday's Paris final.
© Action Images/ReutersGael Monfils admitted to looking ahead, but he refused to be left behind in Paris today.

Monfils' mind drifted ahead of his body to the finish line, but he overcame a second-set stumble to stop Radek Stepanek, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 to advance to Sunday's BNP Paribas Masters final.

The Paris native will play Novak Djokovic in the final. The third-seeded Serbian played brilliant all-court tennis in dismantling second-ranked Rafael Nadal, 6-2, 6-3, to stretch his winning streak to nine matches. Djokovic leads the ATP World Tour with 10 finals to his credit on the season.

Their rivalry dates back to the junior days, but Djokovic has dominated their professional meetings. He is 3-0 lifetime vs. Monfils with two of those three wins coming on hard court.

The 13th-seeded Monfils served for the match at 5-4 in the second set, but grew tight. Stepnaek won three straight games to level. But Monfils closed out the match in the third becoming the second Frenchman to reach the final in as many years. last year, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat David Nalbandian in the final.

"I was maybe thinking too much about the final and I lost my concentration at times but I never really doubted," said Monfils. "Playing a final in France is a special occasion. Now I have to live up to it."

Graf_sampras said...

Craig Hickman said...

I really don't play tennis. I hit the ball, but I don't play tennis. Can't hit a backhand to save my life.

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you don't really play tennis?!!! Oh my god!!! oh my god!!!

ME... i PLAY tennis -- so long as out of court and into the net are allowed. OK?

i do THESE shots VERY WELL!!!

I have NO rivals !!

Graf_sampras said...

in fact i am SO good at playing tennis...that my groundstrokes can penetrate the court so deeply they really hit my target , precisely a foot beyond the baseline....

also my angles are so great when I volley -- i can switch it on just like THAT...and they always come out exactly as I want - into the net- no opponent can get at them!!

and my variety shots are so great in spins that no matter how any opponent tries - i can spin them AWAY from the player whereever they are positioned because I always send the ball exactly where i want it into the doubles lane..it always makes the match too big for them!!

also to give time for my opponent - i can easily pick up the ball after it bounced a second time!!

no one can challenge me!

Helen W said...

So where is MMT? If you're around, I'd love to hear your analysis of the Nole -- Rafa match.

Karen said...

@Graf - LOL at your tennis playing.
My volleys - as soon as I see the ball coming towards me I hold up my racquet and close my eyes. I remember I was playing a league match once and I was down 15-40 in the score. I served out wide and got a short reply, of course, I had to venture up to the net to get the short ball and instead of putting it away for a winner I got the point back to neutral. Unfortunately my opponent who was worse than I was bunted the ball up, it came up in the air and I was able to volley it away (with my eyes open) for a nice drop volley. Needless to say that I held serve. I was quite proud of myself actually.

Craig Hickman said...

Helen,

I'd love to hear yours too.

Graf_sampras said...

Karen said...

@Graf - LOL at your tennis playing.
My volleys - as soon as I see the ball coming towards me I hold up my racquet and close my eyes. I remember I was playing a league match once and I was down 15-40 in the score. I served out wide and got a short reply, of course, I had to venture up to the net to get the short ball and instead of putting it away for a winner I got the point back to neutral. Unfortunately my opponent who was worse than I was bunted the ball up, it came up in the air and I was able to volley it away (with my eyes open) for a nice drop volley. Needless to say that I held serve. I was quite proud of myself actually.

Sat Nov 14, 11:10:00 PM

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heh! Karen -- don't laugh at me !

I AM BETTER Than Roger Federer!!

i can do things he can't do ..i play tennis on a MUCH BIGGER COURT ... you see...bigger than those SILLY LINES!!! so USELESS!!

lol.

Graf_sampras said...

My singlehanded backhand is so strong and thing of beauty : when i hit it - my follow through is so good i can turn in a full circle 3 times after that...

My forehand is superb - like you've never seen before...if i decide to unleash it - i can even smack that ball SO good everytime it passes behind me so i can make it hit the wall behind me even harder!

and my volleyes at the net -- my gosh! out of this world!! no one has ever hit it back because it's a difficult overhead backhand jumping shot - but opponents , idiots that they are, NEVER seem to manage to send it that HIGH for me to show them how it's done the right way!!

and that's just a FeW of my arsenal....

Karen said...

@Graf, you are hilarious - funny on the tennis playing thing