by Craig Hickman
After his semifinal in London, Roger Federer said something like this: I'm in my 100th final and I can still walk.
He can also still remain composed after tightening up when serving for history.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga comported himself well, but allowing a man to hold serve who's only serving at 33% is something Tsonga might have a nightmare or two about in the coming weeks.
That was Federer's woeful serve stat in his opening service games of the final set. Momentarily demoralized by failing to close out the match in two sets, he appeared sluggish. Almost disinterested. Facing 0-30 on serve in one of those games, it would have been easy to blink. But the Frenchman simply didn't make Federer pay. After all, missing first serves is what got Federer in trouble the first time he served for the match. But this time, Tsonga didn't pounce. Passive play and an error here, then there, allowed Federer to get to game point in that crucial passage. Once the Swiss held serve, the escape was complete. Serving out the match half a set later was a cinch.
It was champion vs. challenger. The challenger has the game to beat the champion, but he's never been able to do so in a final.
Still, I enjoy this match-up. Tsonga, who possesses multiple weapons and exhibits as much touch and court sense as anyone playing the game, forces Federer to bring all his tricks to bear.
The final regular-season match for the men lived up to the occasion. Here's hoping Tsonga can cross the line and become a champion in 2012.
As for Federer, well, he just finished the worst season of his career since 2002 and he's still breaking records.
Monday, November 28, 2011
by Craig Hickman
Sunday, November 20, 2011
I caught some of the opening singles match today between Roger Federer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. It was a see-saw affair until the final game of the match when Tsonga left the stadium. The advantage of serving first in the final set served Raja well.
Now, I'm glimpsing points between Rafael Nadal and Mardy Fish. The American just saved a few match points on serve, a game behind in the second set. Will he go the way of Tsonga or will Rafa get rattled by failing to convert match points? I guess we'll find out soon enough.
The group on the court today is considered the tougher of the two. Tomorrow, the Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, David Ferrer, and Tomas Berdych group will commence play.
I alluded to it in a comment, but I'll repeat it here: this event is Raja's to lose.
Enjoy the second-to-last event of the tennis calendar for the men.
Posted by Craig Hickman at 6:12 PM
Sunday, November 13, 2011
|PHOTO CREDIT: MIGUEL MEDINA|
BY MAD PROFESSAH
Roger Federer won his 69th ATP tour title in the Bercy suburbs of Paris (one week after winning his 68th in Basel) by defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1 7-6(3). Tsonga may have been slightly tired due to his thrilling three-set win against John Isner in the semifinals, while Federer has looked extremely sharp all week, becoming only the fourth player to win the tournament without dropping a set and the second, after Andre Agassi, to win both important tournaments played in Paris (Roland Garros and the Paris Masters).
It was Federer's 3rd title of the year and 69th of his career, playing in his 99th career final. It was the Swiss Great's 18th career ATP Masters title, one behind Rafael Nadal's 19 (which is the all-time record). In 2011, Novak Djokovic won 5 Masters events (the most anyone has ever won in a single season), followed by Andy Murray with two (Shanghai and Cincinnati) and Federer and Nadal with one each (Paris and Monte Carlo, respectively). It was Federer's first title in Bercy, and he has now reached the finals of all 9 Masters series tournament (but has never won in Monte Carlo).
The most prestigious tournament of the year starts Sunday November 20th with the top 8 players (Djokovic, Nadal, Murray, Federer, David Ferrer, Tsonga, Tomas Berdych and Mardy Fish) who qualified for the year-end Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London. Federer is the defending champion (defeating Nadal last year) and enters the round-robin tournament on a 12-match winning streak.
Friday, November 11, 2011
As Carter told us in the comments, Andy Murray is the King of Asia, supplanting Roger Federer at No. 3 in the rankings.
Agnieszka Radwańska is the Queen.
I missed all of it.
This week, the tour turned back to Europe. Soon, the season ending events will commence and I'm still not sure what will hold my focus.
For now, it's feeding people. Tennis will just have to wait.
I hope you are all having a great season, wherever in the world you are.
Posted by Craig Hickman at 5:42 PM
Monday, November 07, 2011
For the first time as an independent nation, the Czech Republic takes home the Fed Cup. No small feat considering that the team of Lucie Šafářová, Lucie Hradecká, Captain Petr Pála, Květa Peschke and Petra Kvitová did it in Moscow against a team that has won the most Fed Cup titles of any nation in the past decade.
Posted by Craig Hickman at 8:54 PM