Challenger Tour Finals – Stebe triumphs

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In the first edition of “Challenger Masters”, which was held in Sao Paulo ($220,000 prize money; indoors), Dudi Sela [95] and Cedrik-Marcel Stebe [103] advanced to the final. In the first semifinal Sela upset the home crowd posting a 6-4, … Continue reading

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Number of tournaments by players

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I would say that a notable player participates in at least 200 tournaments on the main level throughout his career. It is a simple calculation because an average career on the main level lasts around twelve years, during that time … Continue reading

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Top 20 in 2011 (stats)

Here is a statistical comparison of 20 best players of this year, two days before Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London. I guess an interesting thing which you won’t probably find anywhere else is stats considering sets won/loss despite set … Continue reading

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Longest matches (best of 3): XXI century

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Because the regular season is finished, I would like to post – I hope – interesting stats until the end of the year with my descriptive analyzes. I’m starting today with the longest ‘best of 3’ matches… There is a … Continue reading

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2011: statistical summary

This is the second part of the recap of the season (the first part). The third part will include all the most important events of the year 2011 by dates, after the Davis Cup final I’ll add these three parts … Continue reading

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Paris – final

(3)Roger Federer d. (6)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga       6-1, 7-6(3)      (1:26 h)

Roger Federer reminded his magic once again taking an advantage of the long season and tiredness of the main protagonists (Djokovic & Nadal). The Swiss played his best tennis in the last two weeks winning in Basel and Paris (68th & 69th title) and still has a chance to finish the season as No. 3, which I assume isn’t exceptionally important for him… Today against Tsonga, FedEx jumped into a 5:0* lead, since then didn’t break the opponent’s serve but his superiority wasn’t questioned and confirmed it in the tie-break in which established quickly a 6:1 lead (Tsonga was close to make a break in the 2nd set though, as he sent a forehand long by a few centimeters at a break point leading 4:3). The finalists may create in London one of the biggest H2H’s within a season (there’s no pair to play eight times in a year), it was their sixth meeting in 2011 #. “I’m just really ecstatic to have played so well this week from start to finish,” said the most successful player of this century. “Basically from first ball struck against [Adrian] Mannarino all the way until the very end here. I couldn’t be more happy. I have had many attempts trying to win Paris Bercy, and for some reason, I wasn’t able to win it earlier. But this one obviously feels great and it’s a special victory.” Federer becomes just the second player to win two tournaments in Paris along with Andre Agassi, who triumphed at Roland Garros and Bercy in 1999. Before Federer, only three players won Paris-Bercy not dropping a set: Amos Mansdorf (1988), Stefan Edberg (1990) & Thomas Enqvist (1996).

Doubles final:
(7)R.Bopanna/A.Qureshi d. J.Benneteau/N.Mahut 6-2, 6-4

# Six meeting between two players within a year:
1984: John McEnroe vs. Jimmy Connors (6-0)
1986: Ivan Lendl vs. Boris Becker (3-3)
1989: Boris Becker vs. Stefan Edberg (4-2)
2004: Roger Federer vs. Lleyton Hewitt (6-0)
2006: Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer (4-2)
2008: Paul-Henri Mathieu vs. Marin Cilic (3-3)
2008: Rafael Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic (4-2)
2011: Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal (6-0)
2011: Roger Federer vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (4-2)
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Paris – SF

The first semifinal disappointed, Tomas Berdych – as usual a day after a marathon – had visibly problems with his muscles and couldn’t threaten the in-form Roger Federer. The Swiss won 6-4, 6-3 in 80 minutes never facing a break point. “I really played great today. I didn’t give Tomas much. I was able to play aggressive and serve good, so overall it was a wonderful performance. I just felt like I was reading his serve, I was playing well from the baseline.” said Federer after reaching the first final in Paris-Bercy to collect finals in all ‘Masters 1000’ events.
Much more entertaining was the second semifinal, in which Jo-Wilfried Tsonga battled past John Isner in three sets (2 hours 58 minutes) to avenge a defeat he suffered two years ago after almost identical scoreline #. Tsonga didn’t break the American once in 17 return games, but was distinctively better in tie-breaks. In the 12th game of the final set, Tsonga led 40-15 on serve and made two errors followed by a double fault. He saved the match point with Isner’s help – return error after Tsonga’s conservative second serve. Tsonga fought off two more match points with forehand winner down the line and Isner’s backhand error after a short rally. Then jumped into a comfortable 3:0 lead and converted his first match point with a forehand winner. It is Isner’s sixth defeat of the season despite holding a match point – he equals an inglorious record of Ivan Ljubicic, who nine years ago lost 6 m.p. matches as well (the Croat lost more match points in total – 18, versus Isner’s 13).

# H2H, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. John Isner:
2009 – Washington, 2R: Isner 4-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(4)
2011 – Paris, SF: Tsonga 3-6, 7-6(1), 7-6(3)
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Paris – QF

Novak Djokovic received a walkover in Paris at Roland Garros this year from Fabio Fognini, this time in Paris it was his turn. The Serb who questioned his participation in the tournament, after winning two matches concluded that his right shoulder bothers him too much to risk a match with a difficult opponent Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (H2H: 5-4 Tsonga). The Frenchman advanced for the fourth time to a ‘Masters 1000’ semifinal (twice in French speaking cities, Montreal and Paris). “I am very sorry for the tournament and the fans in Paris but my right shoulder is hurting again after winning my first two matches here. The doctors have advised that I should rest my shoulder and start treatment as soon as possible. I look forward to returning to the court in London and competing at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.” said No. 1.
In the first quarterfinal which was played, Tomas Berdych snapped a career-best 17-match winning streak of Andy Murray in the longest match of the tournament by far #, and arguably the best of the season (best of three). The 1st set was highlighted by a 14-minute 9th game when Berdych saved seven set points (4 winners, 3 Murray’s errors). In the 2nd set Murray made two comebacks, the first one from *0:3 (15-40), the second one from 2:5* in the tie-break. At 5 all the Scot was two points away from the victory but missed an easy forehand and Berdych converted the first set point with a forehand volley. Berdych held first two games of the decider with troubles (0-30 & 15-40 respectively) and broke his opponent in the 9th game with a help of Murray’s double fault. In a very tense 10-minute final game, Murray had three break points but Berdych withstood the pressure and clinched the struggle with two service winners. He improved his H2H with Murray to 3-1. Both guys played in red t-shirts and white shorts… Points won at the net: Berdych (31/46), Murray (6/9).
Berdych now faces Roger Federer, who posted his win no. 800 ## (10th in a row) beating Juan Monaco 6-3, 7-5. In the 2nd set at 5:4* Monaco was four times two points away from the set, but every time Federer responded with a convincingly offensive attitude. Thanks to surprisingly good results at the end of the season, the Argentinian might me designated to play in the Davis Cup final against Spain in the first week of December. In the last quarter-final, John Isner stunned David Ferrer 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 converting break points in both games he had chances to do that. It’s Isner’s first win over the Spaniard in four meetings. “I feel great,” declared Isner. “It was my first Masters quarter-final, as well. I’m just thrilled to have won tonight, given that Ferrer is such a tough player. He’s No. 5 in the world for a reason. I played very well, and I’m very, very happy.” The American finished the contest with two aces and two service winners (all of them at least 220 km/h!).

# Murray’s 3-hour matches (the best of three):
2006 – Monte Carlo, 1R: Lisnard 6-4, 6-7(5), 5-7… 3:07
2007 – Masters, rr: Federer 4-6, 7-6(3), 7-5… 3:01
2009 – Masters, rr: F.Verdasco 6-4, 6-7(4), 7-6(3)… 3:00
2010 – Masters, SF: R.Nadal 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-7(6)… 3:12
2011 – Rome, SF: N.Djokovic 1-6, 6-3, 6-7(2)… 3:02
2011 – Paris, QF: T.Berdych 6-4, 6-7(5) 4-6… 3:12
## Club “800” wins (according to ATP):
1242 – Jimmy Connors
1071 – Ivan Lendl
923 – Guillermo Vilas
875 – John McEnroe
870 – Andre Agassi
806 – Stefan Edberg
800Roger Federer
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Paris – 3R

In a “battle for London”, Tomas Berdych eliminated Janko Tipsarevic 7-5, 6-4 coming back from *1:5 in the 1st and *2:4 in the 2nd set. Tipsarevic could qualify to London only by winning the tournament, anyway thanks to one win he notched in Paris, secured himself a status of an alternate in the season ending championships. In the other encounter on court No. 1, David Ferrer avenged a loss in Nice  (earlier this year) to Alexandr Dolgopolov [17] with a convincing 6-3, 6-2 victory. It’s a breakthrough season for the gifted Ukrainian, but he finished it in a disappointing style – lost 5 out of last 6 matches (all in straight sets).
Novak Djokovic  playing only at 60-70% of his abilities, rallied from a set down and beat his compatriot Viktor Troicki  in ugly style 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 to improve his H2H with Troicki to 10-1 (ten wins in a row). The 5th game (at 2 all) of the 2nd set was crucial, serving Djokovic seemed very tired, indifferent, without a fighting spirit, but won the 10-minute game which should have been won by Troicki (at one of five break points, Djokovic’s ball landed ‘out’ but wasn’t called that way by the linesman). It was a turning point, since then Djokovic’s backhand started working really well and the better Serb grabbed 10 out of last 12 games. Unfortunately Mardy Fish walked off the court in tears. The American was playing a perfect match against Juan Monaco [34] until producing a double match point in a tie-break of the 2nd set. At the first match point he made an unforced error (forehand), then read wrongly Monaco’s kick serve and played an awful return. Two more mistakes and Monaco leveled at one set a piece. In the 3rd game of the 2nd set Fish’s hamstring injury (which forced him to retire in Basel) reminded itself. Fish won quickly three straight points with strong shots, took a medical time-out but in the first point of the following game realized that was unable to continue. Monaco for the seventh time prevailed saving a match point, but the first time on a different surface than clay # “I started feeling it late, probably late in the second set. It went from sort of tightness and an uncomfortable feeling to, in that last game that I served, a lot more pain, a lot sharper.” said Fish, who believes in quick recovery which will allow him to play in London, “The next two weeks are arguably the most important of my whole career. I’d just love to be close to 100 percent at the end of the year. We’ll do everything we can to get there. I’ll ice it five, six times a day; electric stimulate it, ultrasound, all that stuff.”

# Monaco’s m.p. saved wins:
2004 – Sopot: QF: M.Lopez 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(6) – 2 mp
2005 – Casblanca, QF: G.Simon 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 – 2 mp
2006 – Stuttgart, 1R: M.Berrer 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-4 – 2 mp
2008 – Vina del Mar, 2R: M.Vassallo Arguello 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 – 3 mp
2008 – Poertschach, 2R: I.Ljubicic 6-4, 6-7(4), 7-6(4) – 3 mp
2011 – Bastad, 1R: C.Berlocq 6-7(5), 7-6(7), 6-2 – 1 mp
2011 – Paris, 3R: M.Fish 1-6, 7-6(6), 1-2 ret. – 2 mp
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Paris – Day 3 (2R)

It was a day of lopsided matches #. In the most interesting straight setter, Alexandr Dolgopolov [17], who did not win a set in his four previous matches, sent packing Philipp Kohlschreiber on court No. 1. The Ukrainian led 5:3* (30-0) in the 2nd set, held two match points on serve in the following game but found himself at *3:6 in the tie-break. In that moment, the spectators witnessed one another twist as Dog won quickly five points in a row (without a rally longer than 3 strokes): service winner, forehand winner, Kohli’s double fault, backhand return winner, backhand volley winner (after the second serve). They have created a ‘reflex H2H’ this year ##. “I really like playing in Bercy. I think it’s one of the most entertaining indoor tournaments, and people are coming in numbers here to watch matches. I like playing it.” said Novak Djokovic after his solid 6-4, 6-3 victory over Ivan Dodig. The best player in the world, due to problems with right shoulder wasn’t sure that he would be fit enough to participate in the event until today’s afternoon. His compatriot Janko Tipsarevic keeps his hopes to play in London after destroying Alex Bogomolov Jr. 6-1, 6-0 in 51 minutes. ‘Tipsy’ lost the first game of the match to win 12 in succession, he has one ‘doube bagel’ under his belt (six years ago beat Dick Norman 6-0, 6-0 in Umag). It’s very important win for the Serbian player because moves him one place ahead of Nicolas Almagro, who as expected (plays always poorly in the last quarter of the season) lost to Andreas Seppi 3-6, 5-7. The French crowd was shocked in the evening as Gael Monfils (the finalist of the two previous editions) and Gilles Simon were overplayed by F.Lopez and Monaco respectively. The Frenchmen couldn’t even get a break of serve (Monfils had 5 break points, Simon none).

# For the first time in history of the tournament there wasn’t a 3-set match in the 2nd round (the event has been held since 1986 but the draw for 48-players has been kept since 1990, the first four editions with 32-draw).
## H2H: Dolgopolov vs. Kohlschreiber (both matches in 2011):
Halle, 2R: Kohlschreiber 6-3, 7-6(5)
Paris, 2R: Dolgopolov 6-3, 7-6(6)
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