Friday, November 27, 2009

World Tour Finals Day 6

Argentina and Manchester City soccer player Carlos Tevez watches compatriot Juan Martin Del Potro take on Switzerland's Roger Federer during their ATP World Tour Finals tennis match at the 02 Arena in London November 26, 2009.

Argentina and Manchester City soccer player Carlos Tevez watches compatriot Juan Martín Del Potro take on Switzerland's Roger Federer during their ATP World Tour Finals tennis match at the 02 Arena in London November 26, 2009.


Day 6 Round Robin Order Of Play

Day Session: 12.30 pm GMT (7.30 am ET)

Dlouhy/Paes vs. Mirnyi/Ram

Followed by
[2] Rafael Nadal vs. [3] Novak Djokovic

Rafa is playing for pride. And his No. 2 ranking. If Djoke wins the title, he can replace the Spaniard as second best. Djoke can lose the match and still advance, but he'll need Kolya to lose as well.

I think.

Night Session: 7 pm GMT (2 pm ET)

Bryan/Bryan vs. Kubot/Marach

Followed by
[6] Nikoloay Davydenko vs. [8] Robin Söderling

Can Andy Roddick's substitute win the title as he did in 2005? Stay tuned.

Yesterday's Results

Spain's Fernando Verdasco reacts during his ATP World Tour Finals tennis match against Britain's Andy Murray at the 02 Arena in London November 26, 2009.

Group A Singles
A Murray (GBR) d F Verdasco (ESP) 64 67(4) 76(3)
J Del Potro (ARG) d R Federer (SUI) 62 67(5) 63

Matches don't get much tighter than these.

If you're a fan of Murray, you're not coming up from under today. First time ever a player is eliminated in a round robin tiebreak decided by number of games won.

Guess he had a brutal draw after all.

Group A Doubles
D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) d M Bhupathi (IND) / M Knowles (BAH) 64 76(9)
F Cermak (CZE) / M Mertinak (SVK) d M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL) 64 64

Group A Final Standings

(1) Roger Federer 2-1 - Wins group with 44-40 games record
(5) Juan Martin del Potro 2-1 - Advances with a 45-43 record

(4) Andy Murray 2-1 - Eliminated by one game with 44-43 record
(7) Fernando Verdasco 0-3 - Eliminated after loss to Murray

(3) Mahesh Bhupati/Mark Knowles 2-1
(5) Frantisek Cermak/Michal Mertinak 2-1

(8) Mariusz Fyrstenberg/Marcin Matkowski 1-2
(1) Daniel Nestor/Nenad Zimonjic 1-2


Helen W said...

Watching Rafa -- Nole is painful. Both of them seem mere shadows of themselves.

I hope Rafa manages at least one win out of this tournament. And given how tired Nole seems, I doubt he could do much even if he advanced.

Karen said...

HelenW, I have to agree with you. While I am rooting for Nadal in this match, both guys just look as if they are done and dusted. I think every single player in this 8 man group has looked a bit the worse for wear and it is a sign of how long the season really is. I think only Soderling may be somewhat injury free right now.

Craig Hickman said...

Rafa looks no different to me now than he did at the beginning of the year.

Why are the talking heads talking so much about Rafa's diminishing muscles?

Craig Hickman said...

Djokovic is merely exhausted. I don't consider that shadow. He's been playing well in the lead up to this event.

Rafa, on the other hand, is nowhere to be found. Even his shadow has disappeared.

oddman said...

I agree, Craig, they've been going on and on about this 'loss of muscle' BS lately. To me, he looks the same. He says he's the same.

Press. (shakes head)

Helen W said...

Craig, I agree with your assessment. Nole is exhausted, but Rafa is AWOL. I only hope that he can find his way back.

Craig Hickman said...

oddman, it seems to me that behind all the focus on Rafa's muscle mass is a suggestion of impropriety.

oddman said...

A suggestion, huh?

Yeah, I've read quite a few 'suggestions' on other boards. Getting f'ing sick and tired of it, too.

It occurs to me, watching those last few games there of Nole-Rafa, that Rafa's not consistently getting to the ball. Sometimes his explosiveness is there, and sometimes not. The FH is AWOL, the BH is saving him at times. Since when have we seen the famous banana forehand? Not in ages, IIRC.

Looks like a confidence or mental issue to me - it's no surprise your mental state can either put wings or blocks of lead on your feet, no?

'Tis done, congrats, Nole, I'm not too unhappy, since I did see flashes of brilliance from Rafa now and again, esp. when he stepped in and got aggressive. Great fight in that last game.

(luvs Rafa)

Craig Hickman said...

oddman, reading speculation on boards and blogs about players is par for the course. But color me surprised to hear it coming out of the mouths of the commentators. That's almost unheard of in this sport.

oddman said...

Never mind, there was some press person at the O2 twittering that 'Rafa lost 7 kg to protect his knees', and this has been going around the boards as well. May I repeat, 7 fucking kg???? Does it look like Rafa's lost that much weight? We could all see it with Andy Roddick. Clearly.

Get your f'ing rumors straight, idjit commies.

F me.

(sorry, but I'm just pissed about all this BS)

Karen said...

OK, just to cheer up the Rafa fans around here somewhat from the doom and gloom. A Rafa fan attended the WTF and she loves Rafa world without end. I hope I am not being too bad if I link her pictures here so that you guys can see for yourselves that he has not lost any weight or muscle mass as is being said. The pictures of his back I understand show that he is still the same Rafa. So here you go

Karen said...

It is being said that a certain journalist has implied in his column in the Times that Roger Federer tanked his match so that Murray would not be in the semis. Man, I wish I could post emoticons in this post. The press needs to get over themselves. Not only do they feel at liberty to print lies and innuendoes about people, but there is nothing that can force them to back down, other than the injured party taking them to court. This is just beyond belief. Implying that one athlete is doing poorly as a result of whatever and that another tanked a match so that another player who he just mercilessly beat avoids going further in a tournament. Of all the things that I have heard about Rafa and Roger these 2 just take the cake. Man, the Brits must be desperate for a champion in Murray. Pitiful

Craig Hickman said...

Karen, it seems to me that all tennis journalism is now nothing but blogging. And surely I don't mean to diminish blogging (hehe) but this is the kind of place one is supposed to read such nonsense, not in the columns of the "legit" media outlets, right?

This has got to be the strangest year in recent tennis history.

Karen said...

Craig, it has been a strange year in tennis and for different reasons. One would expect though that so-called journalists and their respective editors would at least have some grounds before posting things that could be misconstrued as libellous and/or slanderous. I understand that the journalist in question phrased his insinuations more along the lines of questions, rather than outrightly stating that Federer had tanked to negate Murray going through. Perhaps the question that should have been asked is why should Federer be the master of Murray's destiny? Every player had 3 chances to go through to the semis. Fed took his, Delpo took his and Murray and Verdasco both failed. Novak, while he was stumbling around and could have just given up, kept plugging away and made the semis (his opponent also contributing), Soderling got a chance and ran with it. I would love to see Soderling or Kolya take these championships. I think they have played well and deserve it. I would not be mad if DelPo wins it either as it would solidify him in the Big 4 and push Murray to No. 5

Helen W said...

Karen I have also seen this ridiculous accusation against Federer on several websites, and plenty of tennis fans are taking it seriously.


Karen said...

HelenW, they need to stop with this foolishness. It is like the thing with Serena. Every other week you see news items that come out that speak about the ITF decision. Now the latest is that she will face a $1M fine and a behaviour bond. What is she, 10 years old? This is a woman who has been competing professionally for the past 10 years and has never had anything like this happen to her before and now she is facing a performance bond. I even read somewhere where the ITF was stating that fans want the maximum fine. When did the views of fans come into this? I thought the ITF was making its decision based on the rules of the sport. Sorry to go O/T but this whole business is pi**ing me off to no end as I think that a lot of so called journalists are hiding behind free speech and journalism in trying to destroy player's careers. Insinuating that one of the strongest competitors in the sport, if not the strongest is doping. That one of the stalwarts of the ATP has tanked a match and that the person who makes people switch their tvs to watch women's matches could be given a performance bond is just plain ludicrous and since the ITF is now listening to fans, perhaps we need to as fans start a petition to send to the ITF that this sort of thing will not be tolerated. Craig, if you start it you have my signature.

Helen W said...

I'm with you 110% Karen.

This whole situation with Serena has gone so far beyond reason it's disgusting. It goes on, and on, and on. The time for any further action on this issue has long since past.

To wantonly hint that top players are deliberately tanking matches, without a smidgeon of evidence or history is likewise disgusting. As is hinting that they may be taking drugs.

I sometimes wonder whether Agassi's recent revalations are fueling some of this crap.

Karen said...

HelenW in one word, yes. Agassi has destroyed the sport that he hates. I hope he is happy.

oddman said...

Karen said:
'Perhaps the question that should have been asked is why should Federer be the master of Murray's destiny?'

Great question, Karen. I too have read the 'tanking' stories. I have a hard time believing he would want to lose to Del Potro twice in a row - that's just the kind of thing that'll give Juan Martin more confidence next time they meet - something Fed would NOT want.

About your Agassi comment, though, I do disagree that he's 'destroyed the sport he hates'. Seems a bit over the top to me.

Karen said...

Oddman, I think the ATP/ITF and all the other governing bodies want to seem like they are doing what they are supposed to do in upholding the integrity of the sport, hence the little bits and pieces coming out about Serena. I think they are a bit *hitfaced after the Agassi revelation and they will do all they can to ensure that it does not seem to be happening again. A $1M fine. Are they out of their collective minds? And a performance bond? They must be crazy. If that is the case then every single player on both Tours should be held to a performance bond. What do they think this is, the Middle Ages? Idiots

Craig Hickman said...

What is a performance bond?

(I suppose I should wait till the ITF actually announces its decisions before I even take the phrase seriously, but till then.....)

oddman said...

I'm not disagreeing with your outrage at the Serena stuff, Karen.

But your comment about 'destroying tennis' - no. Don't look now, but isn't there a tournament going on right now? Tennis has not been destroyed.

Helen W said...

Regardless of what one thinks of Agassi, the ITF, ATP, etc should take look at the maelstrom created by his revelations and see it as an opportunity to give measured responses instead of hysteria. They need to start thinking about the players along with the other stakeholders. Instead of suggesting outrageous punishments for Serena, maybe they could look for ways of shortening the ATP season?

rabbit said...

Agree with Karen here all the way.

Karen said...

HelenW, indeed. This seasons seems even longer than last year's and that one had the Olympics. It is like since January I have been checking scores and chatting with people about tennis. Even I got a little bit tired of it after the USO.
Oddman, it just seems that way to me, I guess because I am just a tad upset with Agassi and his autobio. I guess being from the Caribbean and being poor we cannot understand what can be so bad about being told by your parent(s) to do certain things in order to achieve a certain goal. That is the way we in the Caribbean are raised. We listen to our parents and we do not blame them for our failures and we certainly dont bite the hand that feeds us.
performance Bond- I guess to ensure that she does not go off like that again at another tournament.

Craig Hickman said...

I think we're seeing why Soderling might always be a bridesmaid. Generally, he plays tiebreaks poorly.

He'll need to improve that if he's to become a champion.

Karen said...

As much as he says he has improved his movement, if you get somebody who moves well and can change the pace of the ball, he is toast. That being said I have a new found respect for Davydenko. His footwork is amazing. Do you hear those squeaks.

Craig Hickman said...

Apparently, Djoke hasn't qualified for the semis yet.

Craig Hickman said...

Soderling's movement has improved, Karen. He's getting his racquet on a whole lot more than he was a year ago. He will always lumber because that's just how he's put together. But without improved movement and fitness, no way he makes the final in Paris.

Helen W said...

I believe that if Kolya wins in straights, Nole is out.

Karen said...

Not saying his movement has not improved but when you get him moving like Davy is here then he cannot play the way he wants to play. I think the same thing with DelPo. Every time Roger got him moving, especially up the court, he won the point. The problem though is that DelPo has now learned how to take advantage of the point on the first hit of the ball. That is something that Soderling is doing well. Those forehands of those guys are monster forehands though. My goodness.

Helen W said...

Wow, did you see Kolya play that last point for 4-3? Incredible!

Craig Hickman said...

Davydenko won the first set because Soderling played a miserable tiebreak when he was up 4-3 and serving. In other words, Koyla couldn't consistently keep Robin from playing his game and that's because Soderling's movement is much improved.

Slices bother Robin much more than running side to side at this point. As clean and as early as Kolya strikes the ball, he simply can't make Robin uncomfortable enough with his playing style to be in control of the match. He simply doesn't possess an effective short slice.

Ultimately, Soderling will decide the outcome of this match.

Craig Hickman said...

Well, the defending champion is out.

Is this the first year that the semifinalists for both groups weren't decided until the last match in each group?

Carsomyr said...

Hey, Djokovic is out. Are you popping champagne Karen?

Karen said...

How is it possible that Novak has never defended a title? Bizarre statistic. Anywho, very happy for Davydenko victory.
Carsomyr, no, I am not popping champagne? Why should I?

Helen W said...

Given everyone's form at the moment, I think the top 4 guys made it through to the semis.

Do folks realize that Rafa did not win one set in the round robin? Who would have predicted that?

Craig Hickman said...

Rafa needs to go sit down somewhere and be quiet.

Can you believe that Verdasco was this close to being 3-0 instead of 0-3?

And I agree Helen W. The four best at this event made it through. But to be even more precise, there was almost nothing between 7 of the 8 players.

Carsomyr said...

Because you are a seasoned Djokovic hater.

By the way, are you fond of Del Potro, by any chance?

Karen said...

Carsomyr, I am not a Djokovic hater. I am a fan of his tennis. I dont know him. Never met him. At the rate things are going will perhaps never meet him. I do not like his on court theatrics. I do not like it from any player. I think he has one of the best 2 handed backhands on the ATP Tour. How does all of that make me a hater? I have been a fan of Delpo ever since the FO this year. I thought he has improved his game and his mentality about the sport that pays him. I like when players respect their profession (as I do mind). I like when players go out there and give a 100%. If that makes me a hater, I am quite proud to wear that hat actually.

Craig Hickman said...

Karen, Carsomyr is baiting you. Ignore him/her.

Karen said...

Craig, I know, but notice that I am not allowing myself to be drawn. Sometimes you need to put the trolls under the bridge and seal them with cement. It is called killing with kindness.