Category Archives: Tennis
The top seed David Nalbandian advanced into the second round of the Movistar Open, it wasn’t an easy match for the Argentine as Berlocq broke his serve three times to take the second set.
“I wasn’t troubled so much by the conditions, heat and a bit of altitude, because it’s the same in Cordoba. But this was the first match I’ve played on clay this year. It was a tough encounter and I had difficulties in the second set. But in the third set I raised my level again.” – said Nalbandian after the match.
He will meet now for the first time Horacio Zeballos who also had some problems with qualifier Hocevar but managed to win in two sets. Nalbandian made 10 double faults which haven’t anything with the adaptation to clay, Zeballos plays an offensive game and if Nalbandian isn’t at his best a surprise isn’t out of cards here but is hard to go against Nalbandian as he has a superior movement on court and better ground strokes from the back of the court, he creates good angles and can push Zeballos behind the baseline, the odds on Nalbandian are too low for a confident win on him and we back Zeballos with handicap.
Andy Murray was outplayed in straight sets by Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open Final in Melbourne.
The Scot was aiming to win his first Grand Slam title in three attempts but lost 6-4 6-2 6-3 to the 23-year-old Serbian who regains the title he won in 2008.
“He had an unbelievable tournament and deserved to win,” said Murray afterwards. “Hopefully I’ll come back and have more chances in the future.”
A victorious Djokovic responded: “I want to congratulate Andy for a great two weeks, it was really difficult to play against you tonight. Hopefully you will have another chance to win a Grand Slam trophy and, with your talent, I’m sure you will.”
The Serbian was the slight favourite heading into the match having defeated Roger Federer in straight sets to reach the final, however Murray was himself in good form despite taking longer than anticipated to see off David Ferrer.
Murray, seeded fifth, has always claimed not to be affected by his nation’s clamour for a Grand Slam champion, but his own desire to land a major title after twice losing in finals brings enough pressure and he made a nervous start.
Djokovic hammered some heavy forehands in the Briton’s opening service game and earned a break point, but a loose error let Murray off the hook and the Scot edged through a tense 15-minute game.
Murray then immediately had a half-chance of his own on the Djokovic serve, only to miss a smash at 15-30, but the rhythm was set and both men knew they were in for a battle.
The decisive moment came with Murray serving to stay in the set at 4-5, 15-30 down and a gripping 38-stroke rally which the Briton looked like winning on several occasions, only for Djokovic’s amazing powers of recovery to eventually force the error.
A forehand error from Murray then gave up the first set after a gruelling 59 minutes and the more assertive style of Djokovic was holding sway, a beautiful lob helping him to a love service game at the start of the second set.
With Murray making fewer than 50% of first serves, Djokovic was able to draw his man into lengthy rallies and dominate with his greater power and incredible movement.
The second break point of the match was seen off by Murray with an ace but when he went for a drop shot on the third moments later, Djokovic was onto it in a flash to sweep away a backhand winner.
As well as Djokovic was playing, it was Murray who was the major contributor to his falling a double-break down in game four as he netted a volley and then pushed a forehand long.
And whilst he avoided falling to a nil score by breaking Djokovic’s serve, he failed to see this momentum into the third set as the relentless Djokovic broke the Murray serve for the third time to close out the set.
The Scot was facing the monumental task of taking the irrepressible Djokovic to five, but he took a first step on that journey by firing a forehand winner to break at the start of the third.
It did not signal a significant shift in fortunes, though, as within minutes he was shouting angrily towards his mother Judy and team of coaches in his player’s box after a desperately poor smash handed the advantage straight back.
Djokovic was closing in now and heaped the pressure on at 2-1, refusing to give up the game after Murray valiantly saved six break points and seizing the seemingly vital break with a magnificent backhand down the line past the helpless Briton.
The route to the finish line was not to be straightforward, with the apparently hopeless situation appearing to relax Murray as it had in the second set, and he fought his way back to level, saving more break points on his way to 3-3.
Djokovic was not to be denied though and bludgeoned his way to a 17th break point of the day at 4-3 with some more fearsome forehands, and Murray duly netted under the pressure to leave the Serbian serving for the title.
There was to be no late reprieve for the Briton as Djokovic came through an understandably edgy final game to secure his second Grand Slam title, and leave Murray still waiting for a first.
The Australian Open is getting closer and closer to the final now with the Quarter Finals finishing today and the first of two semi finals occuring tomorrow before the other semi final being played on Friday, the Men’s final will be played on Sunday.
The first semi-final will be played between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer while the second semi final will be played between David Ferrer and Andy Murray.
The Federer and Djokovic match will be a very exciting encounter and one not to miss with a stake in the final at place and with two of the top four players in the world, it is likely to be a very close encounter.
Novak Djokovic will head into his match with Federer very confident of beating the Swiss player as it is now a more open race for the title with Federer maybe not as clinical so far in the tournament than he has been in the past.
Federer though will look to get into the final and extend his record of winning the most major titles ever in the history of tennis, should he and Murray win it will be a replay of last years final, a final which Federer won.
The second semi final is between Andy Murray and David Ferrer. Many were shocked this morning as Spaniard Rafael Nadal was knocked out by his Davis Cup team mate David Ferrer, with Andy Murray now expecting a tough match against a very impressive Ferrer despite Nadal not being at his best today.
Andy Murray will head into his match very confident as he has hardly been pushed so far in the tournament and has only lost one set so far on his way to the semi’s.
David Ferrer will also be confident after beating Rafael Nadal in straight sets in the quarter finals.
No matter what the outcome, the semi finals will be very exciting and no doubt the final will be a very exciting encounter.
Australian Open Tournament Winner
With the Australian Open set to enter its final week and the tournament edging closer to the final, the top seeded players are getting closer and closer to meeting each other.
We will give you the best odds available on the four most likely players that have a chance of winning the tournament, but first let’s look at the individually.
The Spaniard is the tournament favourite, and rightly so. He very rarely has trouble overcoming his opponents with his fierce pin point shots and his incredible fitness there is no wonder why.
The Swiss tennis player is now debatably the best ever tennis player to have ever hit the courts, and there is no surprise as he has the record number of major titles won. Federer has his own style on the court and just oozes confidence from the back of the court.
The Serbian player continues to improve his stature within the game and could possibly reach the final of the Aussie Open. Although he may not win the Aussie Open this year, there is a good possibility that he could win a major this season, as the top four can all beat each other on their day.
The British number one had a fantastic run in the tournament last season reaching the final, only to lose to Roger Federer. He may not have had the best build-up to the tournament, but that has stopped him so far from progressing easily into the final week of the tournament.
Outright Winner Odds
Rafael Nadal 6/4
Roger Federer 7/4
Novak Djokovic 8/1
Andy Murray 8/1
World Number 2 Roger Federer progressed into the third round of the Australian Open after a scare from talented Frenchman Gilles Simon.
The Swiss tennis player looked set to cruise through to the next round after the first two sets as he won both beating Simon convincingly 6-2 6-3.
The tables turned though in the third set as Simon started to find the corners of the court with Federer misfiring some of his shots, with the Frenchman winning the set 4-6.
In fourth set though was very tense and nervy as Gilles Simon had very much warmed up by then and continued to find the corner of the courts and looking comfortable in the game and putting on a strong comeback, and with Federer still finding it hard to hit the winners that we normally see from him, Simon won the fourth set 4-6 to take the match into a final set.
The fifth set saw Federer take control once again and despite taking the match at the fifth time of asking he progressed into the next round and will face tough opposition in Belgian Xavier Malisse.
After the match Federer was full of praise for Simon as he said ”Matches against Simon don’t come easy, every time we go the distance. Hopefully we won’t play each other anymore.
“I am happy to get through, just keep moving on in the draw and try to find an opponent who suits me more.
“I thought the match was great, it was played at a very high level for a long time, I thought I played great and am very happy.”
Simon reflected on the match afterwards and believed that the fifth set saw Federer begin his comeback after his two poor sets previous
“At the beginning of the fifth he played a very good game.
“We were one-all 0-30 on his serve and he played four good points in a row.
“And from there he did much better on his serve and the second shot.
“There aren’t too many players who can go longer than me but Roger is one of them.
“I am just sad I had to play Roger at this stage of the tournament because I was feeling good.”
British Number One and World number 5 Andy Murray will find it even harder this year to try and break his Grand Slam duck as he has recieved the news that he will be seeded fifth for the tournament that starts towards the end of January.
The Scot only reclaimed the fourth spot in the world back in November when he reached the semi finals in the ATP World Finals Tour, but Robin Soderling has now moved up to fourth after he won in Brisbane on the weekend.
Now that Murray is ranked fifth then he could find that Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in his way in his battle to win his first ever Grand Slam.
Murray has been warming up for the Australian Open by playing in the Hopman Cup, unfortunately for Murray the Hopman Cup is not a ranked event and has now paid the price despite winning all three of his singles matches.
Murray would have been well aware of the possible situation that currently faces him after not playing in a ranked event, with last year fresh in his mind after being upsurged by Juan Martin Del Potro in similar circumstances last year.
The draw for the Australian Open will be made on Friday where Murray and the rest of the players will find out the route and possible opponents in the tournament.
Robin Soderling produced an effortless performance to outclass Andy Roddick to claim the Brisbane International title.
The Swede was always comfortable against the American Roddick and eased to the first set 6-3 having broken his opponent early.
Roddick had fallen with the game at 4-4 in the second set due to rain water on the pitch which had leaked through the roof, and the match was delayed whilst it was cleared.
However Soderling did not hang about after play had resumed to claim the second set and the game 7-5.
The victory means he will move above Andy Murray to fourth in the world rankings and be seeded number four at the Australian Open, which begins in Melbourne on 17 January.
And the 2009 and 2010 French Open runner-up was quick to pay tribute to his new coach, Claudio Pistolesi, after sealing his seventh career title.
“We’ve only worked together for a couple of weeks, this is the first tournament, and it’s working pretty well, no?” said Soderling, who has never been past the second round at Melbourne Park.
“I’m playing really well and what makes me really happy is I never really played well in Australia before. It gives me a lot of confidence for Melbourne.”
“He served too well, it seemed like any time I had a look, he came up with one of those big serves,” conceded Roddick. “I’m normally at the other side and it’s better on that end of the serve.”
Roddick was clearly troubled by the slippery court in the second set and, during a heated exchange with umpire Fergus Murphy, said: “I’m not going to get hurt before Melbourne.”
The world number seven later added: “I love this tournament but that being said if it was set alone you wouldn’t have the entire tennis world coming down to this area. The end goal is Melbourne.
“I don’t think you want to compromise the quality of your final with having guys scared to move.”
During the presentations, Roddick announced he would double his pledge of $100 per ace for Queensland’s flood victims, bringing his donation to $10,800 (£6,950).
Ten people have died since late November and about 200,000 have been affected by the floods in Queensland, of which Brisbane is the state capital.
Britain’s No.1 Andy Murray and teenager Laura Robson are both early losers in this season’s Hopman Cup in Perth.
Robson, 16, went down 7-5 6-3 to 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone after suffering from earache and dizziness in the second set.
Murray needed just 77 minutes to level the tie with a 7-5 6-1 victory over Potito Starace.
But he and Robson were then beaten 6-7 7-6 10-2 by Starace and Schiavone in the deciding mixed doubles.
The British pair now face an uphill task if they are to emulate last year’s run to the final.
France and the US both make up Group B in which Britain are competing with Italy. Serbia, Belgium, Australia and Kazakhstan make up Group A.
“It was a very long first day of the year,” said Murray, who is gearing up for the Australian Open, starting 17 January.
Robson had been struggling with a cold in the build-up to the match but produced an impressive performance against world number seven Schiavone.
The Briton broke to lead 5-3 in the first set before a run of seven straight games from Schiavone effectively sealed the match.
The first set of Murray’s match against world number 47 Starace went with serve before the Scot broke to take it 7-5.
Murray survived an early break point in the second before reeling off five games in a row to take the match.
“I was breathing so hard after the first four or five games,” the Scot added. “I only arrived on Saturday afternoon so there’s not been a whole lot of time to get over jet-lag yet.
“It’s going to take some time to get used to the conditions.”
Murray and Robson made the final last year and Murray went on to the final of the Australian Final thereafter, however face an uphill task to reach those heights again.
The winners of Group A and B play in the final on Saturday.
British number one and World number 4 Andy Murray has said in the build up to his first tournament of the year that he must improve his serve if he is to break his Grand Slam duck in the 2011 season.
With the first Grand Slam just around the corner Andy Murray will start his season in Perth on Monday as he joins fellow Briton Laura Robson at the Hopman Cup in Perth before he turns his attention to the Australian Open at the end of January.
Andy Murray was at the Hopman Cup last season and he is hoping that he can repeat the formula that saw him reach the final of the Australian Open.
Murray said ”I’ve worked a lot on my serve and I’ll keep working on it,” said Murray.
“I think from the baseline I’ve matched up well with Roger [Federer] and Rafa [Nadal] but I’ll need to serve well and return well if I want to beat them.”
“This tournament for me last year was perfect preparation. It’s good to get you in shape at the beginning of the year. It really helped my net game playing here last year, especially in mixed.
“I played eight matches, and had the opportunity on the off days to practise outdoors. It makes a huge difference going into the Aussie Open and and that’s why I decided to do it again.”
Murray knows that this year he will have to be at his best at the Australian Open as there is a chance he could face both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in the Semi Finals and Final depending on the draw and the top two rankings progression in the tournament.