Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Federer and Nadal to Face off in the Semis

MELBOURNE, Australia — It was killing Roger Federer the last time he played Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open. Now after a day and night when both champions were in classic form, Federer will get his rematch. This meeting, their 27th, will come in the semifinals instead of the final. Novak Djokovic is now the game’s No. 1 player with Nadal ranked second and Federer third. But Nadal-Federer remains one of the best rivalries in sports even if Nadal has created a significant gap by winning 17 of their previous matches, including the last four at Grand Slam events.After health scares in the buildup to the first major tournament this year — the back for Federer, a shoulder and a knee for Nadal — both radiated vitality at Rod Laver Arena.Laver, celebrating the 50th anniversary of his winning all four Grand Slam events in 1962, picked a fine if torrid day to have a front-row seat. Federer was the Federer of the mind’s eye in his 1,000th tour-level match, free-flowing and imperious as he carved up the serious threat posed by Juan Martín del Potro to win their quarterfinal, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2.Nadal, true to his image, had to dig deeper. Sweat coated his legs and clung to his dark hair as he conjured spectacular running forehands, cast sideways glances in the direction of his uncle and coach, Toni Nadal, and eventually whipped and willed his way past Tomas Berdych, who is developing a harder edge at 26.Federer required 1 hour 59 minutes to win his match against del Potro. Nadal and Berdych required 2:26 just to split sets, with Berdych winning the first tiebreaker and Nadal wresting the second after Berdych failed to make a forehand volley that might have changed his luck after nine straight losses to the Spaniard.On they scrapped in the match of the tournament so far. In the end, Nadal’s increased ability to attack the seventh-seeded Berdych’s serve and to turn defense into offense in a heartbeat made the difference as he won, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (6), 6-4, 6-3, in 4:16.“The level is very positive, much, much better than the end of the season,” Nadal said. “The character on the court, the way to win the points. Everything was much more positive. So I’m very happy.”Federer was not happy the last time he faced Nadal here. He lost the 2009 final in five sets, muttering, “God, it’s killing me,” in the award ceremony and breaking down in tears with Nadal putting an arm around him.“I’d like to get a chance to play him again here,” Federer said, speaking before Nadal’s latest Melbourne marathon was done. 


Please note that this article comes from the NY times

Monday, January 23, 2012

Draw as of Now

The order of play proceeds as the following.

Roger Federer SUI (3) vs Juan Martin Del Potro ARG (11)

Tomas Berdych CZE (7) vs Rafael Nadal ESP (2)

Novak Djokovic SRB (1) vs David Ferrer ESP (5)

Andy Murray GBR (4) vs Kei Nishikori JPN (24)

Nishikori upsets Tsonga

Kei Nishikori came from a set down to become the first Japanese man to advance to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in 80 years on Monday when he upset sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 2-6 6-2 6-1 3-6 6-3. Tsonga was ultimately plagued by errros, which Nishikori took full advantage of matching Tsonga stroke for stroke and waited until the Frenchman got impatient and made an unforced error. Despite hints of Tsonga's brilliant play, it wasn't enough to beat the Japanese wonderkid and is an early exit for the man who people had much faith in to disrupt the world order of the Top 4 men in tennis. The 24th-seeded Nishikori, who has now matched the feats of Ryosuki Nunoi and Jiro Satoh when they made the last eight in Australia in 1932, will meet fourth-seeded Briton Andy Murray in the quarter-finals.

Novak Djokovic tested by Hewitt

Djokovic defeated the two-time grand slam champion, 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 in almost three hours to set up a quarter-final with Spanish fifth seed David Ferrer on Wednesday.
The Serbian world number one was in command for the opening two sets before the fiercely competitive Australian veteran hit back, taking the match into a fourth set.But top seed Djokovic gradually regained control to serve out with two aces in his final game to clinch victory.
The Serb began brilliantly and broke Hewitt in his first five service games and won 18 of the opening 24 points.However, feisty Hewitt refused to give in and he began to make Djokovic play more shots, as he fought his way back to the cheers of the capacity home crowd at Rod Laver Arena."I have to give credit to Lleyton who never gives up, he's a great competitor and obviously made me play an extra shot and I made a couple of unforced errors," Djokovic said."He's very well known for that, in the last 10-15 years he's been playing consistently well on the men's tour and he's a great competitor and I have a lot of respect for him and wish him luck.""For two sets and 3-0 I was playing really well and then suddenly I stopped moving, and I give a lot of credit for that to Lleyton."

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Del Potro sets up a mouth-watering match against Federer

Del Potro defeated Kohlschreiber 6-4, 6-1, 6-1. Juan Martin decimated his opponent in his fourth round match to book himself a showdown with none other than Roger Federer. Del Potro has always remained a huge threat to upset the Big Four's monopoly on tennis and appeared to do so in 2009, after he beat both Nadal and Roger Federer in a slam at the same time. However he was riddled with injuries in 2010 and barely played any tennis. But luckily for him, he recovered decently in 2011 and managed to claw his way back up to 11th. Not dropping a set, Del Potro goes into the match against Roger Federer as an underdog on paper but an equal in reality. He looks to be in the form that helped win him the US Open in 2009 and could stage a major upset against Roger Federer and ruin Federer's quarterfinal streak at Grand Slams. Expect a very very tight match between these two, despite the fact that in their last meeting, Federer won in straight sets.

Federer and Nadal into the Quarterfinals

Federer defeated Tomic 6-4, 6-2, 6-2, and Nadal defeated Lopez 6-4, 6-4, 6-2. It appears as though a semifinal showdown is bound to occur as Nadal and Federer both cut their opponents down to size in their fourth round to matches to qualify for the quarterfinals. The score in Nadal's match fails to capitalize on how close it actually was. Lopez was looking much improved in his match against Nadal, driving his 1-handed backhand instead of slicing it. But it was his serve that would be his undoing. Without his big serve going in enough, Nadal was able to take control and win the first set. In the second set, Nadal raced to a 2-0 lead but Lopez rallied and got it to 3-3. Sadly Lopez failed to hold it level and lost 6-4. In the last set, Nadal was imperious with Lopez and wrapped up the match soundly. In Federer's match, the first set was a tight affair, staying on serve until the 9th game, where Federer broke Tomic to race to a 5-4 lead and take the 1st set. From there on out, the Swiss Maestro picked apart Tomic's game of dinking and improvisation and devastated him in every aspect of the game. A prime example comes from when Tomic and Federer struggled in a 28 shot rally. Federer ended up winning it and all Tomic could do was shrug to his box. Now Federer will face Del Potro, who is looking in imperious form, while Nadal will face Berdych. Expect both of these matches to be blockbusters. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Showman Gael Monfils loses tough 5 setter

Kukushin d. Monfils 6-2, 7-5, 5-7, 1-6, 6-4. The number 92 defeated the Frenchman, Gael Monfils, in a 5 set encounter. Monfils, who suffered from an extremely injured back, could barely hit the ball hard at all and could only pop the ball back in play every shot. However after going up 2 sets, the 92th ranked Kukushin couldn't capitalize and Monfils was able to take the 3rd and 4th sets, playing off of only the adrenaline the crowd was giving him. However in the 5th set, Kukushin got the crucial break and won. Monfils admitted he was “lucky” to force the fifth set, and was playing purely on adrenaline brought on by the crowd.“This one was tough because I had a sore back. But it was really cool. For sure the crowd helped me,” he said.“That's why I chose to keep going, because I could easily have given up. But it was a nice atmosphere. I just tried to have luck in the match and fight, so it was cool.”