Thursday, November 26, 2009

World Tour Finals Day 5

Happy Thanksgiving to those who observe it today.


Raja has clinched the year-end No. 1 ranking, but he could still be eliminated if the US Open champion defeats him in straight sets and if the Scot defeats the Spaniard in straights. At least that's what Jimmy Arias said yesterday.

Switzerland's Roger Federer shows off his 2009 ATP World Tour Champion trophy at the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament in London, November 25, 2009.

Round Robin Day 5 Order Of Play

Center Court - 12:30 PM Start

Nestor/Zimonjic vs. Bhupathi/Knowles

Followed By
[4] Andy Murray vs. [7] Fernando Verdasco

At 7pm
Cermak/Mertinak vs Fyrstenberg/Matkowski

Followed By
[1] Roger Federer vs. [5] Juan Martín del Potro

Yesterday's Results

Rafael Nadal of Spain changes his shirt during his ATP World Tour Finals tennis match against Nikolay Davydenko of Russia in London November 25, 2009.

Group B Singles
R Soderling (SWE) d N Djokovic (SRB) 76(5) 61
N Davydenko (RUS) d R Nadal (ESP) 61 76(4)

Robin played well, but Djoke was beyond tired. The second set was a capitulation. The more the lithe Serb misfired, the better the lumbering Swede scrambled about the court.

Kolya never really let Rafa in the match and when he did, the former world No. 1 didn't really know what to make of the opportunity. The first man eliminated (?), Rafa can return to Mallorca and start getting ready for next season. Yeah. I'm suggesting he skip Davis Cup.

Group B Doubles
B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) d L Dlouhy (CZE) / L Paes (IND) 63 64
L Kubot (POL) / O Marach (AUT) d M Mirnyi (BLR) / A Ram (ISR) 46 64 16-14 - saved 3 M.P.


Karen said...

I had posted it before but Happy Thanksgiving to all my American Friends. Hope you all have a happy and peaceful one. Share a turkey leg with the less fortunate.

Dapxin said...

who's watching?
Its on here in good quality but no english commentaries.

I just woke up :_)
thats good enough thanksgiving for me.

Craig Hickman said...

I'm sort of watching.

Dapxin said...

guys, who was verdasco in for?
he's crap!
how can you throw away a set like that ?

Dapxin said...

wow, was that Murray forehand similar-esque to father fed's trademarked ?


Dapxin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dapxin said...

hohoow! that howler of smash reminds me of a moment @ wimbledon.
the unforgettable 6-two-ed loss...

Craig Hickman said...

Dapxin, Verdasco qualified directly. Soderling is subbing for Roddick.

Tennisfan said...

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.. Here is hoping to thank Verdasco in a few also. :p

Tennisfan said...

That match point.. :( Oh well, if I were to watch more of WTF, I would still have to see Murray playing on court of nails.. Sigh.. This "the future of tennis" brings no joy to my eyes..

Craig Hickman said...

This is one of those matches where it's already clear that the winner of the first game will win the match.

Craig Hickman said...


This is about to get complicated.

Craig Hickman said...

Raja was fined at the USO for cussing at the chair ump?

How did I miss that?

oddman said...

OMG, you didn't see that? The 'don't tell me to be quiet, I'll talk if I want to talk' rant?


Craig Hickman said...


Complicated indeed.

Craig Hickman said...

I saw the rant, oddman.

I heard nothing about the fine.

And it's not like I don't follow the sport.

Craig Hickman said...

Del Potro had a 6-2, 6-4 victory in view, but a net cord and a gag and here we are.

Helen W said...

Expensive choke for DelPo. If he doesn't beat Federer by at least 6-3 in this game, he's out and Federer is in, even if Federer loses the match.

Helen W said...

DelPo's thrown in the towel.

Craig Hickman said...

Del Potro serves for a 6-3 victory.


Craig Hickman said...

The fucking net cord.

Helen W said...

Luckiest player alive, haven't you said?

Craig Hickman said...


How does this complicated mess turn out now?

Craig Hickman said...

(At least I got the first game/match win right.)

Helen W said...

This means DelPo & Federer are through to the semis, and Murray is out. Given the play that seems the fairest outcome.

Craig Hickman said...

Something like that, Helen W. I said he was the luckiest champion I've ever seen.

But del Potro continues to impress by how deep he can dig even after he chokes.

Craig Hickman said...

What an outcome for RR.

Del Potro's choke allows Raja to finish the group as the top player and dismisses Murray from the tournament.

What an outcome.

Helen W said...

Yes Craig, I was very pleased to see DelPo come back after that major choke. How he has grown as a player! Wonderful to watch. I also love his attitude -- his intention to stay the same kind of guy and not get all wrapped up in the fame and glamour.

The commies pissed me off (when do they not?) when they went on about him having no charisma -- well, it seemed to me that the fans were really cheering him. I couldn't tell if they had a favourite, but they were certainly supporting him.

Which is one great thing about the British fans -- they seem to be really fair.

Helen W said...

"RR" = Roger Rabbit? :)

Craig Hickman said...

Helen W, you so funny.

Craig Hickman said...

But Raja was impressive today as well, luck notwithstanding. Del Potro made him play his best tennis just to win points. And for much of the second and third sets, Raja did just that. But in the end it wasn't enough. He can take solace in that choke. Otherwise he'd be out.

Now watch him take his opportunity and win the whole thing.

Helen W said...

I agree Craig, there was some seriously good tennis this afternoon. Not sure that DelPo can't take the whole thing. But from Group A, as far as I am concerned, the best two players made it through. How much the length of the season came into who made it through is not clear, but I think it definitely affected Djokovic in Group B.

Helen W said...

Just as an aside: I wonder if Roger's generous-spirited remark about DelPo (" You almost want to put him out of his misery at the end.") at the AO is an extra motivation for DelPo whenever they meet? Who's in misery now?

Craig Hickman said...

I started out wanting to become a fan of del Potro but then after all the retirements and on court no shows, I chalked him up to another powerful, gutless upstart.

A Tomas Berdych, if you will.

But look at his learning curve? At his young age he's already figured out that overextending yourself at "minor" events just to fulfill your tour obligations isn't exactly a recipe for career longevity.

He came to win this event. His refusal to leave his room after the Murray loss proves his commitment to victory when it matters most. He may fall short in London, he may win over a nation, but he's got the will to win and that's refreshing to see.

Craig Hickman said...

Oh, yeah.

Del Potro is also showing that in his match-up with Raja, the outcome is on the Argentinean's racquet.

rabbit said...

And I think Roger would agree with your last comment, Craig.

I didn't get to watch this match but kind of disappointed that Roger lost. I'd really hoped that he'd get some revenge for the USO final loss

Helen W said...

Well rabbit I think he was pretty lucky to win that second set. In fact he didn't win it -- DelPo choked it away. If that hadn't happened, Roger would have been eliminated.

Craig Hickman said...

It would be just like Raja's 2009 to defeat del Potro in the final.

All's well that ends well.

Raja, his team, and his fans will take it, I've no doubt.

Helen W said...

Craig -- what a pessimist! :)

I'm not ready to write off either DelPo or Soderling, for that matter. Soderling could be a vastly different man from the guy who lay down and offered his belly at the FO.

What is your take on the fans? Do you think they had a marked preference in today's evening match?

Craig Hickman said...

I think the fans were cheering for the underdog. Sure they love Raja. They know Raja. He's won so much in London they have to know him.

But they experienced Wimbledon 2009 as well. Their defending champion couldn't play, they don't really care all that much for the other Andy, and Andy Their Favorite Underdog was oh, so close.

Del Potro, who never made past the second round in London, which means they don't really know him much at all, was probably enough of a revelation, despite his USO title, that they were on his side for most of the big moments of the match.

But what do I know?

rabbit said...

Helen_W, as I said, I didn't watch the match. And based on the score board I was occasionally watching, you're right about the second set choking. But in the third set, again going according to the scoreboard, it also seemed to me that Roger had several chances to break Delpo at 3-3, and then he lost his next service game because of a double fault and unforced errors. Would you also say that Roger gave away the match at the very end?

Craig, it's interesting what you say about Roger's history this year. To be perfectly honest, this WTF is reminding me a lot of Houston TMC 2003. Roger had a very tight match against Agassi in the round robin but then won convincingly in the final. Also, similar to Delpo, Roger had a bad record against Agassi going into '03. So, I'm really hoping that your optimism (:)) wins out...After all, Roger always makes his own history!

rabbit said...

Also, Helen_W, in my opinion, Soderling didn't repeatedly lay on his belly in all the GS matches he played this year against Roger. They played very tight matches in Wimbledon and the US Open, and Roger had to play quite well to win.

Craig Hickman said...

rabbit, given the example you cite, del Potro beats Raja convincingly in the final.

Just saying. ;)

Craig Hickman said...

And for the record, I don't think Raja gave the match away in the final set by failing to convert break points and then turning right around and getting broken. That's common at every level.

Without del Potro's choke, though, Raja's not even in a third set.

That's the same way I felt about Serena's choke in Paris. Sure she choked, but Sveta ought never to have even let her get to a third set. In the end, the better player in the match ended up winning in spite of her/himself.

rabbit said...

Just to clarify because I didn't watch the match, in the 4-3 game in the third, was it Roger's play which suddenly got sloppy or did Delpo hit huge winners?

Helen W said...

rabbit if you take the trouble to read what I said about Soderling, I talked about THE FRENCH OPEN. And he himself admitted his deferential attitude.

I think Roger & DelPo played a tough game in the 3rd set when Roger held his few break points of the match against DelPo, but I wouldn't say that he choked. However, he played a pretty lousy serve game when he lost his serve, so you could say he choked.

Karen said...

Some thoughts on WTF
1. WTF 2008 – Murray has already qualified. Roger trying to salvage year. Murray plays out of his mind (no problem with that) even though he had already qualified. His sportsmanship is not called into question. He succumbs in his next match.

2. DelPo gets sliced and diced at A009 – has no idea what to do. Goes away and rebuilds his game, including fitness. Comes out and takes Roger to 5 sets at RG. Has some semblance of belief now and thinks that he can play against the best players in the world

3. Montreal 09 – plays hard hitting tennis against Murray. Succumbs in the third set but shows some quality improvement. People start taking notice.

4. USO 09 – goes quietly through his portion of the draw. Not being talked about much as a contender, except for those die hard fans of his. Goes out in the semis and destroys Nadal (second time this season).

5. Reaches first major final against defending champ and schools him in the 5th set with a monster forehand

6. Has dismal results during fall swing. Has a little bit of an injury carrying.

7. Meets up with RF during RR play, needs to win to advance to semis. Plays the match of his life and beats RF.

8. At the net, Miguel Seabra, respected journo, tweets that at the net Federer : «i asked Del Potro at the net 'Did you make it or not?'; he said 'I don't think so'».

I close with one of Craig’s favourite lines. Just sayin …

rabbit said...

Helen_W, we are all pretty reasonable and intelligent people here. No need to shout at me.

I read what you said. I also was specifically talking about Wimbledon and the US Open. I thought I was giving a relevant counterpoint to your comment: Soderling didn't play passively in all his meetings with Roger this year, in particular the ones at Wimbledon and Flushing Meadows. So, I don't believe it would be much of a surprise if he played a very assertive and tight match with Roger in their next meeting.

Helen W said...

rabbit when I wrote:
Soderling could be a vastly different man from the guy who lay down and offered his belly at the FO

didn't I say the same thing as you are repeatedly saying in disagreeing with me?

Oh, and for the record, I doubt very much that The Monogram would agree with Craig that:

in his match-up with Raja, the outcome is on the Argentinean's racquet.

Could you give us an example of him ever saying that a player is better than him?

Craig Hickman said...

Karen, I'm missing the point. I'm sure you have one, but I'm missing it. Please help a dense brother out.

Karen said...

Craig, my point: DelPo has improved from the A0 beat down. He has improved both physically and mentally. Last year Roger's fate in the semis was on Murray's racquet, and this year it was the reverse. Maybe it was not to be that way but this is how it looks to the casual fan.
In addition, sometimes we only see posts when Roger makes what we will term as ungracious remarks against his opponents, but sometimes, those same remarks actually serve to inspire people. After what transpired this year between Fed and Delpo, one would think that Delpo perhaps used that as motivation to get fit etc. Most of us here who follow tennis have never been impressed with DelPo and one of the things that Roger said in his presser yesterday DelPo always played like a little guy and did not take advantage of the fact that he was so big. Now, DelPo is doing all of that. You would be surprised at what the comments of others can have on your psyche as a player. Sometimes athletes like children need tough love.

rabbit said...

Helen_W, when did I say I was disagreeing with you?

After the Wimbledon '08 final, Roger said that Rafa should have won the match in the fourth set because he was playing better, and that he lost the tiebreak only because he was nervous.

Please, let's not be so easily irritated...:(

Craig Hickman said...

Thanks, Karen.

I don't believe for one second that Raja thinks he's being some tough love administrator when he comments on how other players play. Nor do I believe that del Potro pays Raja's comments about him any mind. JMDP seems motivated by a desire to improve and becoming a better champion. Not wanting leave his hotel room after losing to Murray tells me a great deal about what fuels his fire.

I started out a potential fan of del Potro back in 2006 or 2005, whichever it was, and then overlooked as he racked up retirement after retirement and offer himself up as a doormat to a few players. But I saw the talent.

Now I'm simply enjoying his progress as a newly-crowned champion. I may become a fan, I may not. But I sure do love his "rude power" and his overall demeanor on the court.

That forehand is simply outrageous.

Beth said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you too Craig!