Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Wk.42- Six Degrees of Davydenko

Hey Y'all. Galileo here.

"He's very fast. He plays like PlayStation," Del Potro said. "He runs to everywhere. It's very difficult to make winners."

Yes I am talking about the mighty Davydenko. A four time semi-finalist [twice at the French and US] and a winner of the WTF, Davydenko cracked the Top 10 in 2005 and stayed there all the way until he was derailed by injury in 2010. He reached world number three in November of 2006 and won 21 titles overall, with several Masters thrown in there, too. Nikolay played for prize money but he also played because he enjoyed it, because he was the best.

He was the only player to have had a winning record over Nadal out of players who had played him at least twice. He beat Federer, Djokovic and Murray, too. Davydenko was always around and always dangerous. There was no way to defend against his game. Davydenko was a machine and, despite some controversies, he was a damn fine player. Yes, I don't curse on here but I figure I can say that word every now and then. Davydenko was able to trouble the big guns and he had some epic battles with some very good players.

The thing about our sport is that you can make the trail back using players. So Federer played Sampras who played Lendl who played Connors who played Rosewall who played Laver who played Hoad who played Kramer who played Perry who played Tilden who played R. Norris Williams who played Maurice E. McLoughlin who played William Larned who played Reginald Doherty and so on and so forth. One can link generations by players and go all the way back to the beginning. You can do it with the women, too.

Kafelnikov was the first successful Russian tennis player in a while and he handed the baton onto Safin and Davydenko. They had so much talent. They also had the addition of Youhzny just as Safin was fading. Now there are no strong Russians left at all. The Kafelnikov connection is surely about to break. Donskoy is up and coming, but Russia is no longer a powerhouse, Russia is starting to fade. Youzhny now stands alone as the best Russian. He was 2-4 against Davydenko but now he is the last talented Russian left.

The funny thing is Davydenko wasn't even born in Russia. Ours is such a funny sport. ..

Shall we wrap up the 2014 250's? I think so...

S: Marin Cilic d. Roberta Bautista-Agut 6-4/6-4
D: Cermak/Vesely d. Groth/Guccione

S: Tomas Berdych d. Grigor Dimitrov 5-7/6-4/6-4
D: Butorac/Klaasen d. Huey/Sock

S: Andy Murray d. David Ferrer 5-7/6-2/7-5
D: Melzer/Petzschner d. Begemann/Knowle

...Under the radar, Cilic had an excellent week. Others impressed and made a big noise but he quietly went about business and gave himself a very small job to do to make it to the WTF. Scratch that -- he is in. And that is why he is player of the week. He even won the U.S. Open quietly. He snuck into the WTF and will no doubt be followed by Nishikori and Berdych. Cilic did not have to play spectacularly to make it, he just had to do his job. Cilic has a big serve and a big forehand. Sometimes that is all you need. Cilic survived a test against Donskoy in his opener. Beating the Russian 'at home' in three sets saw him through, but he looked shaky. Cilic dismissed talented Robredo in the next match 6-3, 6-3 in an impressive performance against a tough opponent. Kukushkin is a tricky customer and a great Davis Cup player. He is almost solely responsible for making Kazahkstan into the strong Davis Cup team it is today. And he showed Cilic why for the first set and a half. But then Cilic showed the Kazakh why he is a slam champ in his 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory. Next up was the final and Cilic prevailed quite straightforwardly against late bloomer Bautista-Agut 6-4, 6-4. Cilic never looked in doubt as he sealed his place at the World Tour Finals. I never thought he would win a slam or debut at the WTF [they need to change the name] but I also never thought Wawrinka would do those things. We will next see Cilic in Paris. Can he finish at five in the world? If he does, I will have to start dusting off my Ivanisevic references. Cilic is the last Croatian since Goran to win a slam, but can he rise to world number two?
...The man who said he would fight back from his suspension has done it. Bureaucrats and officials ruin things for the rest of us. Rueben Carter is the big over the top example. Yes they are necessary and yes they keep order, but sometimes they keep order too well. They banned Troicki for a year but he returned in July after having it cut down from eighteen months. He has risen to #106 after this result. He was ranked #12 in 2011 but now he might finally be back. This semi may inspire him to move onto greater heights. This could be the new beginning. Troicki came through against both Petzschner and Bemelmens in qualifying though he needed three sets each time. Once in the main draw he beat Burgos 6-0, 6-3 and then let Rool get just six games. He struggled more against Bellucci but still edged through, only to run out of steam against Murray. It is a start and he will continue to rise. Look for Troicki to be seeded at an ATP event before April.
...Kuku is very surprising. He tends to do best when nobody is looking. And that is fair enough. He has risen to #84 as a result of this week but , really, he is a top fifty player if not higher. He is certainly of that caliber, and he proved it this week.
...Saketh has been consistently in the top three judged this year and won gold in the mixed doubles in the Asian Games. He partnered Mirza to win gold but everyone knows that. He has won his first challenger event and he has won it in style, too. Challengers are difficult events to win and they have some serious star power. Not so long ago Agassi played a couple. At the Indore Open ATP Challenger Saketh was unseeded but looked good in dismissing Udomchoke for the loss of just two games. Seventh seed Coppeljeans was up next and he would prove to be almost too much to handle as he took the first 6-1. Saketh edged back into and eventually came through to win 1-6, 6-3, 7-6. He then got past Singh 7-6, 6-3 in a tough straight sets encounter. He dropped just three games to Ramanathan in the semi-finals and he had the biggest match of his career up next. He played Nedovyesov in the final. The Kazakh is on the cusp of the Top 100 but the Indian had home advantage and was not over-awed by the occasion. He was too strong and won 6-3, 6-7, 6-3. Though Ramanathan is still about fifty places above him, Saketh rose 128 places to #283. He is India's number four and probably in Asia's top twenty.
...Berankis beat a Russian in straight sets in the first round of qualifying and looked good doing it but struggled against Philip Davydenko [nephew of that Davydenko] in the next round. He should have lost, he should have crumbled and given the young Davydeno a win. But, no. He came back to win 4-6, 7-5, 6-4. He dismissed Kravchuk 6-4, 6-1 and looked rather excellent in doing so. The talented youngster, whose surge had been slowed by injuries, had qualified. He landed another qualifier in Karatsev in the first round and had no troubles against him. And then he played Raonic. He broke multiple times in a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory. That was quite the upset.

1. STOCKHOLM FINAL – Berdych d. Dimitrov
A clash of styles is excellent and it happened here. The defending champion could not defend however, and lost in three very tight sets. An excellent week for Dimi ended with defeat to the world number six. With few breaks on this quick court, Berdych won the serving war. Remember when Dimitrov got his big win against Berdych in America?
Murray was down 5-3 in the third but still came back to win in the third set. It was a cagey affair, but important, as it affected the race. One of the two must run out of energy soon what with all the plane flights and the consecutive tournaments in a row. They will most likely met in three consecutive tournaments -- they are slated to meet in the semi-finals of Valencia. The winner of that is almost certain to be at the WTF. If one does badly and the other wins, Paris almost becomes irrelevant. If both do poorly, they may let Raonic or Dimitrov back in.
3. STOCKHOLM QF – Tomic d. Verdasco
Too good from Tomic in what was an epic match. He pretty much threw away the second but fought magnificently to take the second and third. He had a break in the third which he blew, but overall it was a mentally tough performance from him.

*Valencia, Spain*
Ferrer [1] d. [3] Murray
Berdych [2] d. [4] Lopez
Berdych [2] d. [1] Ferrer

...Berdych will seal his spot at the WTF, with Ferrer edging ahead of Murray here, as well.

*Basel, Switzerland*
Federer [1] d. [3] Wawrinka
Raonic [4] d. [6] Gulbis
Federer [1] d. [4] Raonic

...Despite reaching eighth consecutive finals here, Federer has lost the last two to Del Potro. It's Federer's turn to win Basel. Nadal should not even be playing. It's the wrong decision.

Thanx all and visit WTA BACKSPIN please.

As an aside, I am writing my WTA BACKSPIN year-end Top 10. Surprises await, as well as some expected players. And one big name is left out, someone who went very deep in a slam and won a couple of big titles. It is between Sharapova and Serena. The person I choose will solely depend on their performance at the WTA Finals. I make that clear now -- most of the top ten is decided, but not one and two.

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