Wimbledon – Day 4 (2R)

Rain interrupted matches a couple times. One of the rain-breaks helped Jo-Wilfried Tsonga [19] to avoid a 5-set match against Grigor Dimitrov [62]. When the match was resumed in the 4th set, Tsonga saved a break point at 0:3 and the momentum totally swung in his favor. He led 5:3* (30-15), in the following game had two match points (double fault and Dimitrov’s passing-shot), but the young Bulgarian managed to make another swing and a few minutes later had a double set point. In the tie-break, Tsonga led 4:2, then Dimitrov saved three match points. At 8:8 Tsonga won the point with an awkward volley falling on the grass. On the sixth match point, Dimitrov dived, but couldn’t control his volley and Tsonga celebrated spectacular win (6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-6) jumping over the net. Dimitrov was smiling in the end picked up by Tsonga from the court, happy with a good performance on a big stage (Court No. 2); he is the youngest player in the Top 100, but his idol Federer, ten years ago exactly at the same age, ousted Sampras on Centre Court at Wimbledon in five grueling sets… A two-day meeting of Juan Martin del Potro [21] with Olivier Rochus [73] had two completely different phases. Yesterday evening, Del Potro had problems with his movement on a slippery court, lost a tie-break wasting one set point and visibly disconsolate threw away his shoes into the crowd. Today he was pleased throwing wristbands into the crowd after a quick demolition his 30 cm shorter opponent. Del Potro sealed a 6-7, 6-1, 6-0, 6-4 win with 30th ace – his personal record.  John Isner [47] obtained amazing experience in winning service games on Court No. 18 last year, during the extraordinary marathon against Mahut. Today he came back on that court to play against Nicolas Almagro [15], and won 18 consecutive games on serve, but it was enough only to win one out of three tie-break sets. At the beginning of the 4th set Almagro (23 aces) broke Isner’s serve (28 aces) the only time in the match to post a 7-6, 7-6, 6-7, 6-3 victory just before the darkness (the match would’ve been probably suspended if Almagro had not won the 9th game). I haven’t noticed particular changes in Robin Soderling‘s [5] game in the last few years. The Swede has added to his repertoire better slice, but he serves, hits ground-strokes and plays average volleys as always. What distinguishes Soderling as a No. 20-50 in years 2004-2008 from Soderling as a strong Top 5 player in the last two years… his mentality. He confirmed it today on Centre Court playing against the former champion Lleyton Hewitt [130]. Being 2-sets-to-0 down, Soderling won four points in a row at 3:3 (0-30) and an hour later, broke back immediately at the beginning of the 5th set. His almost 4-hour win over the most experienced 5-set active player, Soderling celebrated on the knees. “I tried not to think about the scoreline. Instead, I tried to keep looking forward. I know I was playing pretty well. I served well. And if I could just start to move a little bit better, start to return a little bit better than the first two sets, I knew I had a good chance.” ‘Toad’ assessed.

Three matches have been suspended at 9 p.m. (each of them in the 4th set) due to darkness: Harrison vs. Ferrer (2-1, 2:4), Melzer vs. Tursunov (2-1, 1:1) & Andreev vs. Tomic (2-1, 0:0).

Longest match:
3 hours, 54 minutes – Robin Soderling d. Lleyton Hewitt 6-7(5), 3-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-4
Most aces:
30 – Juan Martin del Potro, defeated Olivier Rochus in 4 sets
5-set barometer:
30-17 Lleyton Hewitt
8-9 Robin Soderling
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Wimbledon, 21-19 in the 3rd set!

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There was an amazing doubles battle on court No. 6 where Colombians, Juan Sebastian Cabal and  Robert Farah faced so-called “Indo-Pak express”, consisted of Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi (seeded No. 4). The Colombians served 15 times to stay in … Continue reading

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Wimbledon – Day 3 (1R/2R)

Today’s matches started more than three hours later than had been scheduled due to rain. Despite this inconvenience, only one match has been postponed to tomorrow (Del Potro-O.Rochus 6-7…) because all second round matches in the top half of the draw were finished in 3 or 4 sets. The only today’s 5-setter comes from the two-day encounter between Kevin Anderson and Illya Marchenko which was suspended at the end of the 4th set on Tuesday. In the other two-day 1st round clash of two ‘ball-bashers’, Dmitry Tursunov [53] won two tie-breaks on Wednesday against Ernests Gulbis [75], which gave him a 4-set win. Especially the first tie-break was interesting as Gulbis had squandered three set points (6:5, 10:9, 12:11), before lost it 12-14, and the whole match 3-6, 6-3, 6-7(12), 6-7(1). Yesterday I mentioned amazing streak of long tie-breaks won by Mannarino, Gulbis is in opposite to the Frenchman. The  gifted Latvian (but very annoying in regard of lack of positive attitude), loses long tie-breaks regularly #. Against Tursunov, he really should have finally notched a winning long tie-break, but at 10:9 instead of finishing the point with a forehand winner, decided to play a drop-shot and lost the point four strokes later. Gulbis, once a Grand Slam quarter-finalist, has lost eight consecutive matches in majors…
The best grass-court players in the top half of the draw, Rafael Nadal, Tomas Berdych, Andy Murray and Andy Roddick won their matches without any troubles, Nadal for the third time this year destroyed Ryan Sweeting. The No. 1 in the world said with a courtesy after his first Wimbledon match played indoors: “I think I was playing aggressive and with good feelings. But 2-1, 40-Love, I had a few mistakes, and he broke me back. And after [that], the match was tougher and closer.”

Longest match:
3 hours, 52 minutes – Kevin Anderson d. Illya Marchenko 6-7(4), 7-6(7), 6-4, 4-6, 6-1
Most aces:
28 – Feliciano Lopez, defeated Rainer Schuettler in 4 sets
5-set barometer:
3-4 Kevin Anderson
0-2 Illya Marchenko
# Gulbis’s all (at least) 18-point tie-breaks at the main level:
<<< 8-10, 9-11, 11-13, 9-11, 8-10, 8-10, 8-10, 8-10, 12-14 >>>
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Wimbledon – Day 2 (1R)

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic began their title quest with straight sets victories. If they meet each other in the semifinal, they will make a first pair in the Open era to play in four consecutive majors! Federer has already made an irrelevant milestone winning 300th tie-break in his career (against Kukushkin), he joined Pete Sampras as the second player in history to achieve such a feat #. The Swiss is self-confident: “It feels like if things go well for me, I can go extremely far here; whereas at the French Open I feel it’s a bit more on other opponents’ racquets. But here I feel it’s a bit more on mine.”
Fernando Verdasco [22] is commonly known as a choker, considering “the best of three” matches, but he is one of the best specialist of 5-set matches. Today for the third time within the last four majors, he won a match from two-sets-to-love down, and every time he did it against an experienced opponent ##! Today he saved a match point in the 4th set tie-break against Radek Stepanek [60], despite the Czech played three volleys at the crucial rally. It’s funny that during this year’s Australian Open, Verdasco saved  one out of three match points against Tipsarevic, playing also three passing-shots on match point down! ‘Nando’ showed today mental resistance in the 5th set too, as he played patiently very long rally at *7:7 (0-30), putting away backhand DTL winner – it was a turning point, the Spaniard won 9 of the last 11 points since then.
It was a day of five-setters in general, nine matches went to the distance. Frank Dancevic [164] lost his match arguably in a more bitter fashion than Stepanek – leading 2-1, he was 5:2* (deuce) up against Ricardo Mello [89], later on had a double match point in the tie-break. It is the second Dancevic’s loss to Mello from a 2-0 advantage ###! James Blake [102] confirmed his status of the biggest 5-set choker beside Ivo Karlovic among active players, losing to Marcos Baghdatis [30] despite a 3:1* lead in the 5th set. Lukasz Kubot [93] in the third consecutive Grand Slam tournament, wins his opening match after a five-setter, each time making it with a two-game advantage in the decider. 23-year-old Adrian Mannarino [55] became one of 5-set winners today as well, coming back from a 1:4* deficit in the final set, but I noticed something perverse in that win – he won a tie-break ‘9-7’; I associated that he’d won ‘9-7′ and ’16-14’ tie-breaks at Queens Club two weeks ago, so I checked his activity and discovered that the guy has won on different levels the last 15 tie-breaks he played, when at least 14 points where required (!!), which is absolutely incredible in my opinion, totally against probability ####.
John Isner [47] and Nicolas Mahut [94] created that unforgettable epic match at Wimbledon ’10 in the first round, the fate/chance caused their another first round clash at the All England & Cricket Club, but this time on court No. 3 (No. 18 twelve months ago), and Isner needed only three sets (7-6, 6-2, 7-6) to set up a 2-1 lead in the  H2H against the Frenchman. Here is a comparison of their two Wimbledon first-round encounters. It’s the eight time in the Wimbledon Open Era history that players met in the first round in back-to-back tournaments #####. Three matches have been suspended at 9.26 p.m. due to darkness: Gulbis vs. Tursunov (1-1, 5:5), Anderson vs. Marchenko (2-1, 3:5), Dimitrov vs. Stebe (2-0, 3:3)…

Longest match:
4 hours, 3 minutes – Karol Beck d. Carlos Berlocq 4-6, 7-6(6), 4-6, 6-2, 6-4
Most aces:
39 –  Andreas Haider-Maurer, defeated Florent Serra in 3 sets
5-set barometer:
15-8 Fernando Verdasco
15-9 Mikhail Youzhny
12-18 Radek Stepanek
12-19 Arnaud Clement
11-20 Olivier Rochus
10-6 Marcos Baghdatis
8-4 Lukasz Kubot
6-5 Karol Beck
6-8 Igor Andreev
5-2 Ricardo Mello
4-14 James Blake
3-5 Juan Monaco
2-0 Adrian Mannarino
2-3 Teimuraz Gabashvili
2-7 Frank Dancevic
1-4 Conor Niland
0-1 Carlos Berlocq, Kenny De Schepper
# Five players with the most winning tie-breaks in history:
1) Pete Sampras – 328
2) Roger Federer – 300
3) Andy Roddick – 288
4) Goran Ivanisevic – 276
5) Greg Rusedski – 256
## Verdasco’s three wins from 0-2 down in sets in the last four majors:
US Open 2010, 4R: David Ferrer 5-7, 6-7(8), 6-3, 6-3, 7-6(4)
Aussie Open 2011, 2R: Janko Tipsarevic 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(0), 6-0
Wimbledon 2011, 1R: Radek Stepanek 2-6, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(6), 9-7
### Mello’s two wins over Dancevic from 0-2 in sets:
Davis Cup 2007: Mello d. Dancevic 3-6, 6-7(7), 6-3, 6-3, 11-9
Wimbledon 2011: Mello d. Dancevic  3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(6), 6-2
#### At least 14-point tie-breaks of Mannarino since Autumn 2008:
<<< 9-7, 8-6, 12-10, 8-6, 8-6, 8-6, 8-6, 8-6, 9-7, 8-6, 11-9, 9-7, 9-7, 16-14, 9-7  >>>
##### Repeating matches in back-to-back Wimbledons (1R) in the Open era:
1970-71 Marty Riessen vs. Jim McManus [2-0]
1988-89 Richey Reneberg vs. Christian Saceanu [2-0]
1990-91 Shuzo Matsuoka vs. Luiz Mattar [1-1]
1993-94 Mark Woodforde vs. Shuzo Matsuoka [2-0]
2000-01 Arvind Parmar vs. Andre Sa [2-0]
2006-07 Benjamin Becker vs. Juan Ignacio Chela [1-1]
2007-08 Fernando Gonzalez vs. Robby Ginepri [2-0]
2010-11 John Isner vs. Nicolas Mahut [2-0]
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Wimbledon – Day 1 (1R)

There was no rain at Wimbledon last year, just for the sixth time in history of the oldest tournament in tennis (it happened also in 1931, 1976, 1977, 1993, 1995), but the rain fell down as early as on the first day of this year’s event. 18 out of 32 matches have been finished, 10 other postponed to Tuesday, 4 pairs supposed to play, didn’t even step onto the court… The defending champion, Rafael Nadal [1], despite a sloppy start (2:4*, 30 all), won easily his first match against Michael Russell 6-4, 6-2, 6-2. Nadal’s potential semifinal opponent – Andy Murray – had some troubles through a set and half with a clay-courter Daniel Gimeno-Traver in the first match of this year’s Wimbledon which was played indoors. Gimeno held his serve in the first 8 games, but when was broken for the first time, couldn’t hold his serve to the end of the match, and Murray won 15 games in a row to notch a 4-6, 6-3, 6-0, 6-0 victory. As usual, grass opens a possibility to serve more aces than anywhere. Today displayed it Milos Raonic [25], Mardy Fish [9] and Gilles Muller [92] – the first two guys served almost 30 aces winning all service games, the third one hit almost 40, but was broken twice. Fish during his 7-6, 7-6, 6-4 win over Marcel Granollers, wasn’t even forced to save a single break point, although the American didn’t show anything impressive beside his serve. Muller and Raonic face each other next and we can expect a battle of serves, the winner of this match will very likely take up to a third round clash with Nadal.

Longest match:
3 hours, 44 minutes: Ryan Sweeting d. Pablo Andujar 3-6, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(1), 6-1
Most aces:
37 – Gilles Muller, defeated Tommy Haas in 4 sets
5-set barometer:
6-4 Julien Benneteau
1-0 Ryan Sweeting
0-1 Ruben Bemelmans
0-2 Pablo Andujar
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24th WEEK

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s’Hertogenbosch. I didn’t expect that Dmitry Tursunov [70] would win another tournament in his career. The 28-year-old Russian in a consequence of a severe left ankle injury, dropped at  No. 719 last year, and the last two seasons was drifting … Continue reading

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2011 summary (after 2nd quarter; half of the season)

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The first quarter of the season, which symbolically ended on April 4, was dominated by Novak Djokovic. The Serb maintained his extraordinary form in the second quarter, however, it was the quarter of Rafael Nadal too; Djokovic won two big … Continue reading

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23rd WEEK

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In the 44-year-old open history of the tournament at Queens Club, just for the third time the final was played on Monday due to bad weather (heavy rain); previously it happened in 1979 & 1987. A local favorite, Andy Murray … Continue reading

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Wimbledon page

It’s the end of the clay-court season, admittedly there will be another tournaments on clay (Bastad, Stuttgart, Hamburg, Gstaad, Umag, Kitzbuhel and Bucharest) but the best players in the world (Nadal, Djokovic, Federer, Murray) won’t participate in them. So it’s time to change the background and add a page on Wimbledon because the next five weeks tournaments will be held only on grass.
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Roland Garros – Day 15 (final)

(1)Rafael Nadal d. (3)Roger Federer 7-5, 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-1  [3:40 h]

Federer and Nadal have made the first pair in the Open era to play four finals at one Grand Slam tournament (beside them, three finals at one major played only: Stefan Edberg with Boris Becker at Wimbledon; Federer verus both, Andy Roddick and Nadal at Wimbledon too; and Pete Sampras against Andre Agassi at the US Open). “Fedal” also equaled a record of Ivan Lendl, who faced (five times at one major – US Open) two players – John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors #
Federer began the final in a great style with a 3:0 (30-all) lead. I noticed that Nadal was unusually tense, maybe a bit afraid of Federer’s form after his sensational win over Djokovic. The Swiss was a dominant figure over the first 30 minutes and actually  2-3 centimeters decided that he didn’t win the 1st set 6-2… at 5:2* (adv.) he played a backhand drop-shot which was called correctly “out”, Nadal had only an illusive chance to win that point if the ball had been good… It was a crucial moment for the entire final, Nadal won the game with a powerful backhand passing-shot and came back to his standard eagerness after a timid start, in the meantime errors crept into Federer’s game. The Swiss was 30/15 ahead in the two following games, but Nadal since 2:5 won seven consecutive games, he even led 30/15 in Federer’s service game in the 3rd game of the 2nd set, eventually the former No. 1 stopped the streak of losing games with a help of three good serves. Nadal led 4:2*, Federer leveled up, but lost his serve again. In the 10th game  the rain came, Nadal wasted a set point with a forehand error and the rain was already so intensive that the chair-umpire decided to suspend the final. After a short break, Federer caught the momentum winning eight points in a row, he led 6:5* (15/0), and happened something quite characteristic then – a streak of successive points for one player, was followed by a streak of points for the other one – Nadal won eight points in a row too, which gave him a comfortable 4:0 lead in the ensuing tie-break; it was enough to get the tie-break seven points to three with a forehand winner (it’s 9-9 in their tie-break record now). Surviving a match against Nadal, being two-sets-to-love down is almost impossible, only Federer has done it so far, and it was a base for him to fight in the 3rd set, in which Nadal led *4:2. Federer showed once again his excellent technique, deceived his opponent with tricky shots a few times, and after taking that set, he had a triple break point in the opening game of the 4th set – Nadal managed to win five points in a row. He broke Federer to ‘love’ in the 4th game – Federer hadn’t too much in the tank to come back from a break down in second consecutive set. Nadal won relatively easily the next three games, converting the first match point as Federer sent a forehand long. Stats of the match.

‘Rafa’ celebrated his tenth major crown on the knees. He retains his position of the best player in the world for (at least) next four weeks thanks to the title and… Federer, who outplayed Nadal’s biggest current foe – Djokovic. Nadal has collected 46 career titles, including ten majors (he becomes only the fourth player to win at least 10 Grand Slam tournaments in the Open era ##). “As it often happens, he is the best on clay,” Federer admitted, “He proved it once again.” Nadal said: “It’s a big personal satisfaction to win this tournament, especially when you started without playing your best. My mind was open to change the situation, so that makes the victory probably more special. So in general, [I am] very, very happy for everything.” The Spaniard has tied Bjorn Borg‘s record of 6 titles at Roland Garros, but I’m disposed to value Nadal’s achievement more, because the Swede won his first two titles (1974-75) when “the best of three” matches were required in the first two rounds.

  Doubles final:
(2)Max Mirnyi/Daniel Nestor d. *Juan Sebastian Cabal/Eduardo Schwank
7-6(3), 3-6, 6-4

 * Cabal – the unknown Colombian – had not played a tournament at the main level before the Roland Garros 2011!
# The record-tying in majors, five Roland Garros meetings between Nadal and Federer:
2005, SF: Nadal d. Federer 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
2006, F:   Nadal d. Federer 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6(4)
2007, F:   Nadal d. Federer 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
2008, F:   Nadal d. Federer 6-1, 6-3, 6-0
2011, F:   Nadal d. Federer 7-5, 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-1
## Players who have won at least 6 major titles (the Open era):
16 – Roger Federer
14 – Pete Sampras
11 – Bjorn Borg
10 – Rafael Nadal
8 – Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors, Andre Agassi
7 – Mats Wilander, John McEnroe
6 – Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg
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