Saturday, November 28, 2009

World Tour Semifinals Preview

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 27:  Nikolay Davydenko of Russia celebrates winning the match during the men's singles round robin match against Robin Soderling of Sweden during the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena on November 27, 2009 in London, England.
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Group A has the advantage. Roger Federer and Juan Martín del Potro had a day off, Robin Soderling and Nikolay Davydenko did not.

The Russian has the shortest turnaround and the worst record of all against his opponent. I still don't understand why Kolya hasn't been able to defeat the world No. 1 even once. They have played tight sets, but Kolya always manages to find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I'm not sure Raja will be in any mood to even allow him to get close today. I'll be surprised if the Swiss doesn't win in straights.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 26:  Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates a point during the men's singles round robin match against Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina during the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena on November 26, 2009 in London, England.
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LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 25:  Robin Soderling of Sweden celebrates winning the match during the men's singles first round match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia during the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena on November 25, 2009 in London, England.
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I, for one, am going to thoroughly enjoy watching the Rude Power boys duke it out. They've split their only two meetings with the Argentinean winning their only match in 2009. But that was way back in Auckland, which seems like a lifetime ago. The Swede won a set last night to avoid facing Raja in this round, so let's see what he has left to bring against del Potro. I see a third set breaker. Bring on the popcorn.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 26:  Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina celebrates winning the match during the men's singles round robin match against Roger Federer of Switzerland during the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena on November 26, 2009 in London, England.
Getty

Day 7 - Semifinals Order Of Play

Day Session: 12.30 pm GMT (7.30 am ET)

Mirnyi/Ram vs. Cermak/Mertinak

Followed by
[1] Roger Federer vs. [6] Nikolay Davydenko

Night Session: 7 pm GMT (2 pm ET)

Bhupathi/Knowles vs. Bryan/Bryan

Followed by
[8] Robin Söderling vs. [5] Juan Martín del Potro

There should be no night session for the semifinals. In both singles and doubles, it gives the day-session winners an advantage they don't need heading into the finals tomorrow.

79 comments:

Craig Hickman said...

This is what I mean about Kolya in this matchup. Raja is playing like crap and hands Kolya the break. So what does Kolya do? Consolidates to go up 3-1.

How much you bet he manages to lose this set anyway?

Karen said...

hmm, he proved wrong. Roger, I think like Nadal is off on vacation already. Oh well, I am outie. Going to get hair and nails done and do Saturday chores. See you all later. Would love to see Davydenko win it this year.

Craig Hickman said...

Karen no way Raja doesn't want to win this thing.

Craig Hickman said...

Okay, so they proved my straight-set victory-for-Raja wrong.

And I'm surprised.

But I still think Kolya will find a way to lose the match.

edma1022 said...

Good Morning, Craig!

6-4 second set. Nice. We'll now see how Kolya wants it badly. Or Roger, for that matter.

Nice channelsurfing has this. They didn't a few days ago.

Craig Hickman said...

Good morning, ed.

Raja will win the final set 6-1. He's serving first, after all.

DavyD may want it, but as is always the case when he plays Raja, he simply can't get out of his own way.

dapxin said...

this clashes with Manchester United's football today,
so I am not watching.
I heard over the radio father fed's 1st set was a disaster.

Karen said...

Checking scores via blackberry. Very surprised that this has gone to a third set

Craig Hickman said...

Davy doing what he always does against Fed surprises you, Karen?

oddman said...

Cackle!! Jason just called Fed 'the Mongrammed Maestro' - hee hee.

Looks like the name's sticking?

oddman said...

Yes. I'm surprised Karen is surprised.

I'd bet a tidy sum that Kolya's going down.

Craig Hickman said...

And probably in this service game at 4-5.

edma1022 said...

hohoho. o ye of little faith.

edma1022 said...

almost choked *gasp*

but he did it. good one.

dapxin said...

..
...
and there
you
have it.
---
the davy then,
KO
the fed.
----

The unknown, sometimes hurts...

Craig Hickman said...

I realize there's about a 4 minute Tennis Channel broadcast delay here in the States, so this match may already be in a tiebreak, but color me shocked that Davydenko is serving/has served for the match.

Can he/did he do it?

I'll check back later. LOL.

dapxin said...

you have to say
"roger did look flat...bbc!"

It was almost like, there was no electricity in him....bbc".

pfffffffff!

Craig Hickman said...

Two first serves: 30-0.

Three second serves: 30-40.

Pitiful.

Craig Hickman said...

Two first serves: match point.

Now what?

Craig Hickman said...

Well. Well. Finally. He didn't let him off the hook.

oddman said...

Heh. Nobody beats Kolya 13 times in a row... nobody!

Helen W said...

Well well well. Good for Kolya to overcome his demons and finally win against Federer.

Interesting that this year there has been a number of players start playing to their potential: Soderling, Davydenko, Del Potro. Perhaps Djokovic also.

Then there is one notable case of a top player losing his edge ....

Helen W said...

Too funny oddman

dapxin said...

odddman, L O L,
that sounds more like a hard faced KGB Putin, on the phone to Bush!...

Craig Hickman said...

Helen W, I would say that more than one top player has lost his edge.....

Sigh.

Helen W said...

Craig I feel your pain. But at least your guy isn't just 23 years old....

Karen said...

Yaay for Kolya. I was so rooting for him on this one. Fed has been playing like crap all tournie. Needs some rest and get some batteries. Don't know why folks thought he did not have a chance. He has been playing extremely well. Took out 1, 2. And 3 players in the world. He needs to win tomorrow. Go Kolya

Craig Hickman said...

That's why it's so troubling, Helen W. He's got less time to get himself together and win his dream Slam.

At least Rafa has a Wimbledon title.

But I don't wish to compare, really. For us fans, whenever our faves lose their edge, at whatever age or career stage, it's unsettling.

Craig Hickman said...

"Don't know why folks thought he did not have a chance."

::

12-0 lifetime, including matches on every surface and at every level, had something to do with it.

Helen W said...

Interesting that at this point in the tournament, the top four ranked players are out of it. I wonder how often that has happened at the year-end tourney?

Karen said...

Just like how you guys know ur faves so us Fed fans know ours. Roger should have been out since RR as he has not been serving well or returning well. Forehand has been absent and backhand has been away since forever. Double faulting all over the place and stuff. Need to listen to ardent Fed fans. We know our guy

Craig Hickman said...

No matter how poorly Fed plays, he finds a way to win and his opponents, some more than others, find a way to lose. When he escaped elimination from RR, history tells us he at least makes the final. And when his semifinal opponent is a player who has never managed to find a way to win against him in 12 tries, it's not at all far-fetched to envision a semifinal victory, no matter how poorly he played (relative to his own game) at this event.

Helen W said...

Not only that, in sets, from Tennis Talk, Roger leads by an incredible 28 - 4.

cp said...

Hoping that Kolya goes all the way now. He just missed out last year in Shanghai. Go for it.

edma1022 said...

Except at the start of the 1st set, Fed did not play poorly at all. I believe Davyd just played better at crucial points, and, more importantly, handled the immense mental hurdle of that 12-0 match, 28-4 set disparity between him and Fed. The odds are, sooner or later, he's gonna win, and the timing was great when he did.

Although both are the workhorses of the ATP this 2009 season, I'm still gonna root for the Sod to win. I still can't find myself to reconcile with Davyd after that betting fiasco.

Mad Professah said...

I did think I saw something in Kolya's eyes when he was playing against Nadal and Tall Robin.

He sort of reminds me of Jankovic--very good strokes on both sides and moves well but no real weapon except movement.

I really don't see him getting past EITHER of the big boys, but it would be cool if he did.

Frankly, I don't know who is going to be beating Juan Martin for awhile.

Helen W said...

Well edma my heart will be with Kolya. I can relate to your feelings about the betting scandal, but as it recedes into the past, and because they took a long time to never prove anything against Davydenko (although I admit that we were left with some unanswered questions), it does not concern me much anymore. To me Soderling is a relative newcomer whereas Davydenko has been a top player for years, without the satisfaction of winning such a prestigious tournament.

oddman said...

Yes, I'd like Davydenko to win. Further to Craig's musings on top players losing their edge and so on... Kolya's been in the mix for a long long time. It's only now that he's put himself in the best position he's ever had to win this thing. And he's not exactly a youngster, is he? He's having one of the best seasons yet, no?

There's always hope.

Craig Hickman said...

Where did all this love for DavyD come from?

LOL.

I hope he doesn't win. Which means he probably will.

Craig Hickman said...

I just heard someone shout, "C'mon del PORRO!!"

Priceless.

Karen said...

Craig, I became a fan of Kolya earlier this season. Dont remember which tournament it was but he played sensational tennis, and then when I saw him at the Shanghai Masters this year he was just hitting the ball so well. I loved how he played. The way he took the ball early, just everything about his game. I also loved reading his interviews, especially a recent one where he was asked about his racquet sponsor and he said that Prince does not have any money because they gave it all to Sharapova. That was just hilarious. Also, the way he just goes about his business. A lesser player would have gone down with that whole betting thing but he just kept right on plugging away. Also, it is a joy to see the look on his wife's face when her husbnd wins. Yes, Kolya, I love him.

Karen said...

These guys are hitting the ball so hard that I am sure the poor ball will soon have no fluff on it.

Karen said...

DelPo, biggest forehand in tennis right now? Talk about speaking in absolutes.

Helen W said...

Kinda an impressive service game by DelPo, no?

Craig Hickman said...

I don't know if anyone hits a forehand as hard (and flat) as del Potro does. 109 mph winners off the ground are insane. Lots of men don't even hit second serves that hard.

::

I enjoy looking at Kolya's wife more than I enjoy his tennis. He doesn't play a style I like. But I don't dislike him, so I don't root against him. But whoever wins the match we're watching now is who I want to win the title.

Craig Hickman said...

Last night, del Potro hit a crosscourt touch volley on the dead run against Raja that made Jimmy Arias confess that del Potro had some of the best feel he's ever seen.

Today, Jimmy Arias claims that del Potro is all power and no variety.

What a difference a day makes.

Karen said...

The commies just said that one of Murray's coach said that he was afraid of DelPo. This was said after seeing his forehand against Murray. This guy may very well be the one that takes down the FeDal. I wonder if that is why Nadal was in Basel. Planning ways to take down DelPo - that would be hilarious

oddman said...

Pick 'em.

I'd like Kolya to win.

I'd be happy for Soderling if he won.

I think Del Potro is going to win.


The Argentine seems an unstoppable force. Watch out in 2010.

Karen said...

You know sometimes when I go to message boards and read the comments of fans regarding commentators, I raise my eyebrows because I wonder whether they are listening to the same person as I am. Arias has always struck me as a commentator who suffers from a bit of envy when he looks at the careers of other players compared to him. He is snarky but there is a bit of mean spiritedness attached to his snarkiness. People talk about the ATP guys but I find them to be a fair and balanced bunch. They are fan boys and they will drool over who is the flavour of the month, but their snarkiness and contempt is for everyone.

Karen said...

Oddman, if players are not on top of their games in the new year, that forehand may be giving a lot of players nightmares. You can always tell when he is about to go sonic with it, he makes this sound that I kind of like, something like - ugghhh. It is like a freight train under pressure. Just deep and throbbing.

Craig Hickman said...

I'm going to let 2010 take care of itself.

For now, I'm enjoying this excellent display of serving. These guys are painting lines and/or hitting corners on almost every serve.

I would imagine the Top 4 wishes their serves served them better at this event.

Craig Hickman said...

Karen, are you talking about a forehand or a fuck?

Karen said...

LMAO -

Karen said...

In this case I think they may be one and the same - LOL

Craig Hickman said...

Now, let's see if RobinS can actually hold his nerve, win or lose, in a tiebreak.

Karen said...

Unless he chokes it away, the tie break is his.

Karen said...

We should really think about doing the whole skype thing during matches. So much better. What do you guys say?

Craig Hickman said...

Interesting. Del Potro is the one buckling because he can't return the serve.

Helen W said...

That was totally weird. DelPo just disappeared.

Craig Hickman said...

Seems to me del Potro never got over not getting that break of serve he thought he had in the third game.

A glimpse of the del Potro that turned me off to him over the years.

Helen W said...

Old-fashioned serve-&-volley tennis -- without the volley :)

Karen said...

On to the third. This is really how it should be in the year end championships. DelPo takes this in 3. Soderling is stretching his legs. Think it may be a 6-1 third set to DelPo

Craig Hickman said...

Well, del Potro just broke open the whole match with that dropshot/lob combo.

The crowd erupted like a geyser.

The man without variety employs some at just the right moment.

Craig Hickman said...

Funny. Del Potro hits two jaw dropping passing shots in a row (the second a ONE-handed backhand winner up the line on the dead run - oh, he of no variety) and Jimmy Arias' commentary is tame.

I wonder his reaction if Fed had hit the same two shots, back-to-back.

Helen W said...

So Soderling just gets the break!

Craig Hickman said...

This is some match.

Craig Hickman said...

Am I going to get my third-set breaker?

Helen W said...

IMHO it's been a long, long time since we've had so many good players at the top of our game.

Craig Hickman said...

Wow. Here we go.

Craig Hickman said...

What a point to open the breaker.

I'm in awe.

Helen W said...

So DelPo takes it after an exciting match. I think the better player worn.

Craig Hickman said...

Wow. Just wow.

Craig Hickman said...

And Soderling left they court like he was totally pissed.

Exactly how it should be.

What a match.

oddman said...

Man. Guess I missed me some tennis, no?

And - LMFAO at Karen!

Whatcha missin', girlfriend?

:))))

Karen said...

LOL - oh Oddman, you would not like to know. Suffice it to say it has been awhile. It has been as a result of a vow I took to myself but boy it is hard. Does not help when I see those forehands and hear those deep throbbing sounds coming off the racquets of the guys as they hit the ball - LMAO

Craig Hickman said...

I don't think Soderling gets the credit he deserves for coming back so strong after so many injuries. He had knee surgery in 2005 and recurring wrist and shoulder injuries since then. I was never sure if he'd ever get close to reaching his potential with such a history.

Helen W said...

Craig I did not know about Soderling's injury problems.

Perhaps this is germane in explaining the recent "Kolya love" you mentioned above. Both Kolya and Soderling are very good players that get very little attention. Davydenko recently endured the insults of the Chinese press in Shanghai and often makes humourous and telling comments about the doings of the ATP. Yet these guys are virtual non-entities as far as the public and even most tennis fans are concerned.

So I for one am pleased to see them in the spotlight for once. I think Kolya will have a tough time beating DelPo tomorrow, but I hope he does, partly because as things stand today, he won't get a lot more bites at the cherry, while DelPo has his whole tennis future in front of him.

Karen said...

I actually think Kolya has a chance tomorrow. DelPo while he has improved his fitness and movement, is still no match for the little dervish on the baseline. I have observed Kolya this past couple of weeks and let me tell you something, if there is another player in the game who takes time away from a player as efficiently as he does, I am yet to see him. When DelPo winds up that forehand, especially the CC variety, he needs time to do that. That is what Kolya will not give him. He did the same thing today with Fed. He also returns very well, excellent h2eye coordination and I think that will be a factor. In addition, he is not afraid of the net and he is serving incredibly well. Dont think I have ever seen him hit so many aces on big points. I am really rooting for him tomorrow and hope he gets this trophy as this may very well be his last chance.

Craig Hickman said...

I've no doubt DavyD can win the title. But I've no doubt del Potro can win the title, too.

I'll take another third-set breaker.