Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Wk.17- The King is Dead...

Hey Y'all. Galileo here.

It is 25 days until the French, and I have no idea who is going to win it, which is unique. Why? Nadal, quite simply, is not looking strong enough to win.

We have seen this before, of course. The last two times he lost back to back in clay tournaments, he ripped off massive winning streaks. In a tournament which has featured a Spanish finalist from 1997-2013 and a Spanish winner from 2003-2013, the fact that a Spaniard did not win this year in Barcelona is a surprise in any case. Nadal losing and the slow decline of Spanish tennis is indicated here. If I were writing a novel, this would be foreshadowing.

Another fun fact: since this event became a three set final, only twice has it gone three sets, in 2008 and 2010.

Nadal losing is big news. I will interrupt and say that, in other big news, the "Star Wars" cast have been announced. They had better hurry up because I'm not sure some of the actors will be around much longer. Let's be honest, Harrison Ford is on the wrong side of seventy. If these films take any longer than ten years [more than likely] the actors may not be in a position to act. Perhaps they should film all the scenes they will need now before time runs out. It could be like Heath Ledger in a way and his posthumous appearance in "The Dark Knight."

Anyway, tangent over, Nadal is still my favourite-ish for the French. This is simply because it is nigh on impossible for anyone to beat a fully fit Rafa on clay over five sets. It really is time to star thinking about the French [Todd did it as well and he knows more than I do, I promise] and looking at the top eight seeds is interesting. I think Rafa will win it. I do not think Djokovic will make the final, but I think whichever one of the Swiss stars does not draw Rafa in the semifinals will get to the final. Ferrer will grind all the way to the quarterfinals, but Berdman will crash early. Murray will fall early, too. Del Potro is out indefinitely. Raonic will make his maiden slam quarter. I think we will see a lot of seed death. Also, look for Kyrgios to do well. The young Aussie star has had a blinder in the challengers.

Look who Dimitrov ran into in Madrid. Someone else who won a title over the past week. It is the first time 'Pova has won three titles at any event, never mind winning them back to back to back. I wonder if Dimitrov asked for her autograph. I would have.

Dimitrov just won Bucharest, without dropping a set. It looks like he has finally found consistency to go along with his brilliance. Oh, I just had the best idea -- Dimipova should play mixed doubles at the French! (*NOTE: I just discovered, disappointingly that this will not happen. How boring.)

Rosol, Giraldo and Gulbis all appeared again from seemingly nowhere. It also looks like I will never get any ATP picks correct. I am looking forward to the French so I can really butcher my picks. I have to say, I can always be safe in picking Rafa. It is the solid one to go for and he is likely to win it, even if he is tested in the early rounds, but who is the default pick in the women's? Dare I go for Sharapova? Can I trust Williams?

Also this week... Ferrer was poor. Is this the beginning of end of the Spaniards? It feels a little like the WTA in 2009 when Dementieva retired. Zvonereva was at number two. Geez, remember her? Actually I think she has played this year. I think. Kirilenko [20], Sharapova [18] and Petrova [15] were the other Russians in the top twenty. Only Sharapova is still relevant. Petrova is 4-6 this year. Zvonereva and Kirilenko have played about once each. There are less new Russians coming in [A-Pavs counts, kind of] and it is the same case with the Spanish men. I know they have Agut and others coming in. Still, it feels like the end of an empire. Mind you, I thought the same about the Russians and Zvonereva had a decent 2011 and Sharapova....well you know the rest.

One last fun fact. The first five editions of the Barcelona event were all won by Americans from 1953-1957. Since 1957, just one American has won this event. Todd Martin beat Alberto Berasategui in 1998 in four sets.

But enough of my talking, tennis happened this week and this is kinda how it went...

S: Kei Nishikori def. Santiago Giraldo 6-2/6-2
D: Huta-Galung/Robert d. Nestor/Zimonjic

S: Grigor Dimitrov def. Lukasz Rosol 7-6(2)/6-1
D: Rojer/Tecau d. Fyrstenberg/Matkowski

...I'm annoyed with Almagro. He goes and beats Rafa but then loses to Giraldo. It is like me beating Usain Bolt in a 100m sprint, but then being beaten by Maggie Smith in heels in my next race. So, due to Almagro doing a Gasquet, the honor falls to Dimitrov. He did not lose a set, but then again he did not face a seed. Still, Nishikori got a helluva lot of luck, too. I don't think the Japanese would have defeated Almags in the final, but he did not get there so we will never know. Anyway, Dimi started off as the very firm favourite of this event. He opened strongly, beating Vesely, a very talented Czech youngster, 7-6/6-2. After he won the breaker, he pretty much rolled through the next set. Next he played Stakhovsky, who beat Federer last year and has done nothing since, and won 6-3/6-4 without too many problems. When Monfils retired 5-1 down in the first set, Dimi had his second final of this year to look forward to. He beat Rosol in the final 7-6/6-1 and dropped just two points in what turned out to be the momentum turning breaker. Dimitrov goes 3-1 in finals with this victory. He goes 2-0 in finals this year with both having at least one breaker. He has won all three breakers he has played in finals this year. He won his first clay title, too. With the victory, he moved up to fourteen in the world. If he makes a deep run at the Masters and the French Open, he could be top ten by the time I go to Queens. Yep, I just booked my tickets to Queens. I though you would all like to know. I may even get to see Dimitrov. I saw Sharapova sitting in his box at Wimbledon last year. She didn't have much to do after the first week.
...The best tennis player in Asia, a serious achievement considering the population, made his seventh final and won his fifth tournament. He improves to 3-1 in 500 tounraments. They were all different tournaments, too. Nishhikori is 1-1 on clay and 4-1 on hard in finals. He has been to three finals at the International Tennis Championships and won two. It seems to me is a 500 and 1000 player, which makes up for the fact he under-performs at the slam level generally. Incredibly, he moved up five whole places from 17 to 12. He is now 116 points away from the top ten. He struggled against Agut in round two, his first match. He finally closed it out 6-3 in the third against his Spanish opponent. Next he dismissed Golubev 0 and 4 in a dominant performance. Golubev was impressive during the Davis Cup but he could not translate his form. Cilic got a second drubbing in as many weeks when Kei beat him 6-1/6-3. Nishikori beat another young rising star, Ernests Gulbis, in the semifinal. He cruised, winning 6-2/6-4. Gulbis had a good week but just did not turn up. Nishikori then thumped Giraldo 6-2/6-2 to take the title and edge ever closer to the top ten.
...Rosol turned up this week, too. He turned up last week and he was strong again this week. Perhaps Romania is the country that brings out his best tennis. Perhaps his run has to be completely unpredictable. The way the ATP works, he fell eight places despite having a great tournament. I guess that is the pitfall of winning an event -- fail to defend and pain will soon be coming your way. I cannot understand how Lu is ranked 50. He has done nothing all season, but perhaps he has done nothing in such a way so as to earn points. Anyway, the Czech number three had a relatively tricky draw to navigate last week. He opened against Volandri, who was born on a clay court. He proved to be too strong for the Italian and he won 6-1/7-6(6). Next he played Nieminen, who was born to be a low seed in every 250 he plays, and beat him surprisingly comfortably 6-2/6-4. Rosol then played Simon, who was born to be boring, and he didn't have much difficulty there either. He won 7-6(2)/6-2. In the semifinals was Haase, born to turn up when least expected. This time it would go three, but again Rosol prevailed. Unfortunately, Rosol was Born to Runner Up. (Editor's note: rimshot)
FRESH FACE: Ciorcil√£, ROM
...Thiem continued his fine form, but it is Patrick Ciorcil√£ who is the newest. The Romanian number 6 is ranked somewhere between 500-600. He is just 17 years old and has played in one ATP tournament. This past week. I can tell you he is five foot eleven and he plays right handed. I can also tell you that he is coached by the famous Bogdan Nitescu. He nicked a set off Stakhovksy before losing 2-6/6-2/6-1.
...He turns 32 in June. He has a string of poor losses to his name this year. Losing to Haase 6-3/6-3 is definitely one of them. There is not much more to say except to point how poor a loss that was and the fact that he is old. In tennis terms, we are talking 60's at best.
...You just beat Nadal for the first time in about a billion years and then, full of confidence and whatnot, you crash and burn in the first match of your next tournament in your home nation on your favourite surface. Is it just me or does this, you know, not make any sense at all?
...Yep. I never saw him beating Verdasco. Big upset right there. Frankly the Nadal victory is just a bonus.

I thought I was the subject of some late April Fool's. Almagro took a set? Preposterous. Ridiculous. Almagro won? But Nadal has won 41 in a row, he hasn't lost twice in April that I can remember. He had not dropped a set since 2008 and he won every time he entered the event. Not only that, but to a Spaniard...with a one handed backhand. It must have been opposite day. Don't even ask me to pick the French. I might pick Dimitrov and Bouchard just because anything can happen [Serena..I don't know?].
Monfils is a jack of all surfaces. He has transitioned onto the clay quite well and ground out an impressive victory over talented compatriot Mathieu. He was outclassed in the first but ground through the second and once he won it -- 10-8 in the breaker -- he rolled easily through the next set with little resistance.
...3-6 /6-3/6-2..
The defending champion played well during the tournament, but was eventually outdone by talented young star Dimitrov. Rosol beat the inconsistent Haase in a tight three setter, and it looks as if Rosol may have found a tournament he knows he can always perform well in. With his victory, he stayed at around the fifty mark, ranking wise.
Just one man took a set off the Asian number one in his run and it came in what was nearly a second round upset. Had he played Nadal, it might have been different, but he did not and he was never really challenged after this tight opening match.

Fognini[1] d. [4] Monfils
Haas [2] d. [5] Kohlschreiber
Fognini [1] d. [2] Haas

...I like draws that virtually pick themselves.

Garcia-Lopez [4] d. [1] Berdych
Raonic [2] d. [3] Granollers
Raonic [2] d. [4] Garcia-Lopez

...Anything can happen at these smaller clay tournaments, but luckily there is some star power here and I will use that.

Thanks all and visit WTABACKSPIN please.

Read more!


Post a Comment

<< Home