Monday, October 01, 2012

Wk.39- There's Only Juan Richard Gasquet

Galileo here.

Bonjour. OK. I have been swamped as of late. But I'm here and I'm ready to start reviewing the ATP. But before that I think that every week I'll say two sentences that are non-tennis related about what I've been up to. I watched the classic movie "Thelma & Louise" and I fell in love with it after about 5 minutes. It's a fantastic movie which I really advise you to watch when you have an afternoon or evening spare. Oh also, I listened to Marianne Faithfull for the first time. It was a song from the movie and the song is called "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan":

Right. This week one of my favorite players, the swashbuckling Richard Gasquet (said with French accent), won his first title in two years. And he won it in style. And Juan Monaco also won, which is nice because we all love that guy (let's be honest). He's been as high as #10 this year, which is a career-best. Both winners were seeded second and neither had to face the top seed because the top seed lost in the semis on both occasions.

When I saw the draw and all the big names. I thought that Gasquet had a big opportunity. I love this guy. He has an underated serve that works well on pretty much all, surfaces firstly. He has a nice whippy forehand and a gorgeous net game. And he has one of the best dropshots on the tour right now because he doesn't overuse it (like Murray) and when he does it's perfect. And that backhand is just sexy. It is one of the best one handed backhands ever. It's awesome. To quote tennis writer Andrew Lawrence, "It's as if he's saying "ta-da!" after every stroke; the only thing it's missing is jazz hands."

Dimitrov led Ritchie 7-5 5-3 and the match seemed done. It was a case of a tight first set and carrying momentum into the second. But then in deuce, Gasquet came back and took the next four in a row. Dimi held it together but he just wasn't the same player and was broken early in the third and the Frenchman clung on for a 5-7 7-5 6-4 victory. In the next round, he broke rising star Tomic just once in a tight 7-6 6-4 match which Tomic could so easily have won. But then, he found himself 6-3 4-0 down against Jarkko Nieminen the flying Finn. Did he capitulate? No. He came back and forced Jarkko to serve it out at 5-4 up. But then with Jarkko 5-4 30-30, the Finn did a Serena and foot faulted but this time without threatening to kill the line judge. Unfortunately , Serena is almost as famous for incidents as she is for being a good tennis player. For more info look into her matches versus the following: Stosur '11 US Open, Martinez-Sanchez '09 French Open, Henin '04 French Open, Clijsters '09 US Open, Capriati '04 US Open and that whole big ugly Indian Wells mess. To be fair, not all of them are her fault but she is an opinionated lady and that doesn't help. But I digress -- sorry for the Williams tangent, folks -- the Finn foot-faulted, Gasquet broke and lost just two more games. He came through 3-6 7-5 6-2 to face the fourth seed Gilles Simon. Yes the one who thinks women should be paid less, that one. Thats the one. He upset top seed Janko Tipsarevic. But in the final and after all those comebacks he utterly dominated his friend and compatriot 6-2 6-1 in an hour. ALLEZ!

S: Richard Gasquet/FRA d. Gilles Simon/FRA 6-2/6-1
D: Lu/Udomchoke (TPE/THA) d. Butorac/Hanley (USA/AUS)

S: Juan Monaco/ARG d. Julien Benneteau/FRA
D: Peya/Soares (AUT/BRA) d. Fleming/Hutchins (GBR/GBR)

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Richard Gasquet, FRA
...I want to say Peerakiat Siriluethaiwattan but he didn't win a match. I've been thwarted this time but I'll find a use for Peerakiat Siriluethaiwattan. He made like Imhotep and came back from the dead twice. But this time he wasn't thwarted by an archeologist or young boy. Thrashed Simon in the final. Played some brilliant and creative points and looked like a top ten player for most of the week. I genuinely think he will be an alternative for the WTF (they need to change the acronym) and if he is what an alternate he will be. He has a lot of Pizzazz which is a very French trait tennis wise. He's finally getting some confidence back and if he gets a favorable draw, surely a big Grand Slam performance isn't too far away. But then again he is very unpredictable. And he has always been very dangerous in the same way that Ivanovic or Nalbandian or Monfils or Petrova is. And I'm so impressed that he finally decided to play smart tennis and improve mentally and not go away quietly into the night when things didn't go his way. He's showing signs of mental maturity and intelligent play that may hint at a career resurgence. If he continues this form I don't think anyone except those at the very top will want to face him.
RISER: Julien Benneteau, FRA
...Three out of the four finalists were French this week. Magnifique. I still miss Mauresmo -- one of the best players at the net ever in my opinion -- but it's nice to see French flair -- and inconsistency too -- is still alive and well. He is 0-7 in finals and has also reached the QF at the French Open. One of the best title-less players out there for sure, but this week he went all the way and nearly took it. He pushed Pico in an epic final but came up short. He is also a Bronze medallist -- partnering Richard Gasquet in the doubles this year -- and has been as high as #26 in the world. Now with this he will be around #30 in the world which is very impressive. He beat Ferrer 6-4 6-1 in an extremely impressive performance and just for that alone really he should be proud, but in the end he will be disappointed.
SURPRISES: Lu Yen-hsun & Danai Udomchoke (TPE/THA)
...The guy who beat Roddick at Wimbledon partnered Danai Udomchoke and won. I think this qualifies as a surprise personally. To be fair though, there were a lot of upsets in the doubles field, though you shouldn’t take anything away from them. And they played an excellent three setter against Sonchat and Sanchai Ratiwatana. They won 6-7(3) 7-6(5) 10-7 against the Thai pairing. Then they beat the very good pairing of Hanley/Butorac 6-3 6-4 in a routine match. Lu/Udomchoke also took out Brunstorm/Marray 11-9 in the champions tiebreak and Andy;s younger brother Jamie Murray and his partner Andre Sa out 6-4 7-5. So all in all a very good week for them.
NAME OF THE WEEK: "Peerakiat Siriluethaiwattana"
...need I say anymore?
VETERAN: Jarkko Nieminen, FIN
...He was the Giant killer this week. He beat flashy German Petzchner (who beat Peerakiat Siriluethaiwattana in the first round.) He then broke Milos Raonic in a 6-3 7-6 (3) victory. He had an excellent week which culminated in a Novotna style choke. It isn't at Coria's level but it's definitely at a Novotna level. 6-3 4-0 up, he got just three more games. Luckily the Duchess of Kent wasn’t there. Perhaps he could cry on the shoulder of Peerakiat Siriluethaiwattan? He was world #13 in July of 2006. He now resides at #39 but he has made the quarters at at all the slams bar the French where he's been to the fourth round. He has also won the 1999 boys singles US Open. He has also won Sydney, this year but considering his 2-10 record in finals, that may well be his last title.

*Honorable Mention to Davydenko who should retire from the sport. Quit while your ahead Davy!

COMEBACK: Gael Monfils, FRA
...He has been in the top ten this year but then a knee injury in May forced him to miss a slew of tournaments including Wimbledon and the French. But then he made the semis in Metz in a loss to Seppi. And he has improved on that here. He reached the quarters in fine form. After beating the tricky Anderson 6-4 2-6 7-5 in the first round, he improved and send sent sixth seed Troicki packing in straight sets. He then lost badly to Simon 6-4 6-1 but let's overlook that because coming back from injury is always really difficult. Also, the French Davis Cup team is my favorite because they are so exciting to watch with the exception of Solid Steady Slumber-Inducing Simon.
FRESH FACES: The Young Guns
...Nishikori got to the semis and if he had won he would be the fresh face but he didn't, he did a Jana Novotna like Nieminen and blew a 5-2 lead then collapsed in the third set breaker. But he has been doing well this year and has a been a solid top twenty player all year. It remains to be seen if he can defend his points in Basel however. Tomic beat the tricky Sela and advanced to the quarterfinals where he played well but lost to Gasquet. He also thrashed Garcia-Lopez which is a great result. He should finish in the top 50 this year which isn't bad but people were expecting something higher. Raonic -- seeded third like Nishikori -- crashed out a round earlier before his seeding but still not too bad.

*Honourable Mention to Peerakiat Siriluethaiwattana.

DOWN: Donald Young, USA
...Please please please just retire. No offense intended but the guys is like 2-20 in his past 22 matches. He should do what Agassi did and play challengers till he is on form and winning them. I don't need to say anything more but this slump is putting Jelena Jankovic to shame. That's how bad it is.
...Daniel Gimeno-Traver blasted the field at the 2012 Torneo Omnia Tenis Ciudad Madrid in Madrid which was on clay. He was seeded fourth and didn't lose a set in 5 matches. He thrashed the brilliantly named Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4 6-2 in the final. It's an impressive performance from the world #93 in a field with Albert Montanes and Filippo Volandri in it.

1. Thailand Semi-Final -Gasquet d. Nieminen
...3-6 7-5 6-2.
6-3 4-0 the Finn led. How do you blow a lead like that? How? How in the name of all that is holy? Over to our correspondent Jana Novotna for more info. So do you blow such a lead?
2. Malaysian Semi-Final Nishikori d. Neiminen
...6-2 2-6 7-6 (4).
You're 5-2 up in the final set. How do you lose from there, how do you capitulate completely? Well were joined by Jana Novotna here in the Studio. So do you blow such a lead?
3. Malaysian doubles final Peya/Soares d. Fleming/Hutchins
...5-7 7-5 10-7.
Doubles is great to watch and tight close encounters like this even more so. The British duo lost but played well and they had a pretty decent week overall.

#1 Murray d. #6 Raonic
#2 Berdych d. Tomic
#2 Berdych d. #1 Murray

...Well, Tomic always does play well in Asia. Also, Monfils will defintiely test Murray.

#5 Gasquet d. #1 Djokovic
#2 Ferrer d. #7 Haas
#2 Ferrer d. #5 Gasquet

...Gasquet continues his form and beats a rusty Djokovic.

Right to finish off folks, I'll tell you a story. I was at Wimbledon this year and had just finished watching Wickmayer lose -- bitchily I might add -- to Paszek. I was walking along enjoying the feel of Wimbledon when suddenly I saw SARA ERRANI with her guards and stuff. I went over for an autograph, etc. and the guard shook his head at me and on closer inspection Errani seemed to be in tears. Very strange I thought. It was only later I found out she had just lost a Golden Set to Shvedova.

Our feel good moment is Jana Novotna winning Wimbledon:

That's all for now folks!

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