February 10, 2011
ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament—Rotterdam, The Netherlands
No. 7 seed Ivan Ljubicic defeats Benoit Paire 6-0, 6-4; No. 4 seed Tomas Berdych defeats Dmitry Tursunov 6-4, 4-6, 7-5; Marcos Baghdatis defeats Feliciano Lopez 7-6(3), 6-3.
January 26, 2011
From Nike’s Facebook page:
Tomas Berdych came out of the shadows in 2010 with a stellar season, proving that when he is on, he is unstoppable. John McEnroe breaks it all down for us in the latest in his series. Check out the video.
January 24, 2011
by: Tom Cochrane
It’s the first of the quarter-finals days on Day 9 at Melbourne Park, and we have some blockbuster matches to look forward to in the men’s tournament. Four-time champion Roger Federer takes on his compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka, while the marquee night session features 2008 Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic against the red-hot Tomas Berdych.
Day 8 Recap
Not many people may have heard of Alexandr Dolgopolov before the tournament started, but the young Ukrainian is certainly making a name for himself here at Melbourne Park. After knocking out crowd favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the third round, Dolgopolov put in another huge performance to take out world number 4 Robin Soderling in 5 sets and progress to the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career.
The hard-hitting Dolgopolov will battle Andy Murray for a spot in the semi-finals after the Scot easily accounted for Austrian veteran Jurgen Melzer. Melzer had talked up a big game before the match, but the Austrian failed to deliver on his pre-match statements, scraping together just 5 games for the entire match. It was another sublime performance by Murray, who is looking to go one step further than his runner-up effort last year.
Over on Hisense Arena the run of Canadian qualifier Milos Raonic finally came to an end at the hands of the little Spanish dynamo, David Ferrer. Raonic came out blazing and scorched a 226km/hr serve past Ferrer on his way to claiming the opening set. But Ferrer started to read the Raonic serve better and better as the match wore on and gradually got on top of the young Canadian, taking the match in 4 sets. Still, it was a marvelous tournament for Raonic whose huge serve and level-headed temperament should serve him equally well on the ATP Tour. Look for Raonic to be in the world’s top 50 by the end of 2011.
The men’s night session saw Rafael Nadal back in action and the world number one dismantled Marin Cilic in a typically clinical display, claiming the victory in the straight sets. In an ominous sign for his rivals, Nadal declared after the match that it was the first time he’d felt fully healthy during the tournament.
Day 8 saw a couple of fabulous 3-setters in the women’s tournament. Polish seed Agnieszka Radwanska beat the gritty Chinese player, Shuai Peng, 7-5 3-6 7-5, while Petra Kvitova came from a set down to overwhelm Flavia Pennetta.
After defeating Lucie Safarova in the third round, Vera Zvonareva played another Czech lefty on Day 8. Down a break in the opening set, Zvonareva took the initiative from that point on and came out with a pretty comfortable 6-4 6-1 victory. In the women’s night match Kim Clijsters continued her march towards the final, accounting for Russian Ekaterina Makarova 7-6(3) 6-2.
Matches of the Day – Day 9
1. Andrea Petkovic vs. Li Na
It’s hard to find any faults in either player’s previous match – Li was very impressive against the dangerous Victoria Azarenka, accounting for the Belarussian in straight sets, but Petkovic was equally impressive in dismantling the game of Maria Sharapova for the loss of just 5 games.
Both players have enjoyed a successful Australian summer to date, with Li claiming the Sydney title with a superb win over Kim Clijsters in the final and Petkovic making the final of the event in Brisbane. Petkovic’s biggest asset going into this match is probably her all-round athleticism, which allows her to generate plenty of power on her groundstrokes and also allows her to defend well when her opponent is in control of a point. Li’s strength relative to Petkovic is her greater experience, with the Chinese star hoping to make it back-to-back semi-final appearances at Melbourne Park.
This is the first match between these players, so it might take a few games or even a set for each player to figure out the style of game of the other player. Petkovic couldn’t have done anything more against Sharapova, but I’ll take Li – the ninth seed has lost fewer games than any other player remaining in the women’s draw and I’m tipping her winning streak to continue for a while longer. Li in 2.
2. Stanislas Wawrinka vs. Roger Federer
Now working with Peter Lundgren, a former coach of Marat Safin and Roger Federer, Stanislas Wawrinka must have made his coach very happy with his performance on Sunday night. Wawrinka played the best match I have ever seen him play against Andy Roddick, the Swiss blasting winners off his trusty backhand wing, serving huge first and second serves, and handling Roddick’s serve in much the same way that the great man Roger Federer has done in the past.
But it’s always very hard to back up a near-perfect performance, even more so when the opponent down the other end is one of the greatest players to have ever played the game. Wawrinka has beaten Federer before, which will give him some confidence against the 16-time Grand Slam champion, but Federer has won all the really important matches played between the pair. This match should be a delight for tennis purists, with each player employing a traditional one-handed backhand and prepared to come to the net to finish off points.
If Wawrinka brings to Rod Laver Arena the form he showed against Roddick, then Federer could be in for an encounter to rival his 5-set thriller against Gilles Simon. But that’s a big if, and even if the match goes into a deciding set, Federer’s immense experience has to give him the edge. Federer in 4.
3. Caroline Wozniacki vs. Francesca Schiavone
Caroline Wozniacki has yet to drop a set at Melbourne Park this year and is into her first ever Australian Open quarter-final. Most of the attention surrounding the world number one has centered on her off-court antics, such as jokes about kangaroos, and her witty responses to claims by members of the media that she is boring.
But it’s time for Wozniacki to focus as we reach the business end of the tournament. Having split her 4 previous meetings with Francesca Schiavone, Wozniacki knows that the wily Italian will do anything on court to secure a victory. Schiavone’s fighting qualities have never been more evident than this past week at Melbourne Park, where on 3 occasions she has been forced into long 3-setters in order to advance.
Schiavone’s incredible win over Svetlana Kuznetsova, which took 4 hours and 44 minutes, will no doubt have left the Italian feeling mentally and physically exhausted. The seventh seed is battle-hardened and will be bravely readying herself for another fight against Wozniacki. Unfortunately for Schiavone, I don’t think the body will be willing to do what the mind wants it to do. Wozniacki in 2.
4. Novak Djokovic vs. Tomas Berdych
On paper, this gets my vote for men’s match of the tournament to date. Novak Djokovic has been playing outstanding tennis over the last couple of months, with his improved service action a feature of his recent play. Djokovic’s serve is now faster and more reliable, with his second serve far less of a weakness than it used to be. Having not had much of an off-season, Djokovic is still in peak physical condition and will be grateful for not having had to expend too much energy to make it through to the quarter-finals.
Wimbledon finalist Berdych, who defeated Djokovic on his way to the final at the All England Club, had a pretty mediocre finish to 2010 after really hitting his straps in the middle of the season. But the Czech has regained his best form here in Melbourne, failing to drop a set against the talented Richard Gasquet and the powerful Fernando Verdasco. Most impressive in his win over Verdasco was Berdych’s ability to keep his unforced errors to a minimum while still going for his shots and generating plenty of winners.
Djokovic leads Berdych 4-1 in career meetings, although Berdych won their biggest meeting in the semi-finals at Wimbledon last year. I think Djokovic has the edge on hard courts, with Berdych having only claimed one set out of 10 against the Serb in their matches on hard court. Look for Djokovic to make Berdych hit more balls on each point than Verdasco did, and for the third seed to stand up and deliver with his world-class backhand when he gets the opportunity.
Berdych is capable of winning this encounter if he maintains the form he showed against Verdasco, but I think the odds are with Djokovic. Djokovic in 4.
That’s it for today. Enjoy the tennis and I’ll be back with another serve tomorrow.
January 23, 2011
Reaching his first-ever quarterfinal round at the Australian Open, world No. 6 Tomas Berdych told the assembled media that he was looking forward to his next match against 2008 champion Novak Djokovic.
Defeating the Serb at Wimbledon last year, Berdych lost two subsequent matches against Djokovic in the fall. Sizing up his mouth-watering quarterfinal contest, Berdych remained quietly optimistic.
“I just to have try to forget the last two meetings that we did together and try to think about the match we played in London actually in Wimbledon,” said Berdych.
“But on the other way, very important is just going to be try to look what’s happen before. The important thing is going to be what I’m going to do on court and try to concentrate the game I was playing, especially today, the day before, and try to, you know, continue with this game, with this my aggression game. That’s going to be the way of kind of my preparation.”
Berdych trails Djokovic 4-1 in career head-to-head meetings.
Quotes courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports
January 23, 2011
Australian Open—Melbourne, Australia
Defending champion Roger Federer won his 10th straight match against Tommy Robredo on Sunday to advance to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open.
Recording a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory, Federer captured 100 percent of his first serve points throughout the first set before his Spanish opponent mounted his comeback.
Reestablishing himself early in the third set, Federer recorded his 27th straight quarterfinal win in a major, which tied him with American great Jimmy Conners.
Federer will next face Stanislas Wawrinka, who dismantled No. 8 seed Andy Roddick 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. Wawrinka won a scorching 92 percent of his first serve points, dropped 24 aces and broke serve on three of 13 occasions.
Elsewhere, No. 3 seed Novak Djokovic and No. 6 seed Tomas Berdych set up a rematch of their Wimbledon contest with respective straight set victories.
Winning 86 percent of his first serve points, Djokovic struck 12 aces and broke serve on five of 13 occasions to defeat No. 14 seed Nicolas Almagro, 6-3, 6-4, 6-0. Reaching his fourth-straight quarterfinal at the Australian Open, Djokovic breezed past his Spanish opponent after winning the first two sets. Using his defensive skills on numerous occasions to counter the power Almagro, Djokovic will take a 4-1 head-to-head lead against Berdych in the quarterfinals.
Berdych blasted past No. 9 seed Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 later in the day. The towering Czech won 88 percent of his first serve points, 100 percent of his net approaches, while adding 11 aces to his victory. Reaching the quarterfinals in Melbourne for the first time in his career, Berdych has advanced to the quarterfinals or better of three of the last four grand slams.
Monday’s matches will feature Rafael Nadal, Robin Soderling and Andy Murray.
January 19, 2011
Australian Open—Melbourne, Australia
No. 6 seed Tomas Berdych and No. 8 seed Andy Roddick survived first set struggles before advancing to the third-round of the Australian Open on Wednesday.
For Berdych, the day started off on a sour note as he lost the first set against tough German Philipp Kohlschreiber. Losing his serve in the ninth game of the opening set, Berdych needed an extra measure of focus to steer his fortune’s in the right direction.
Breaking serve four times in the final three sets, Berdych prevailed with a scoreline of 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4. The Wimbledon finalist will next face Richard Gasquet, who defeated Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-4.
Former semifinalist Roddick used 31 winners to grind past Russian Igor Kunitsyn 7-6 (7), 6-2, 6-3. With his opponent serving for the first set at 6-5, Roddick tightened his return game to force a tiebreak. After securing a one set lead, the American began to open up his shoulders and hit with greater power from the baseline.
Roddick will next face Robin Haase or No. 26 seed Juan Monaco.
Other winners on the day included No. 6 seed Fernando Verdasco, Tommy Robredo, Kei Nishikori, No. 17 seed Ivan Ljubicic and Sergiy Stakhovsky.
No. 2 seed Roger Federer will highlight the night session against Frenchman Gilles Simon.
January 17, 2011
Australian Open—Melbourne, Australia
Singles – First Round:
 R Federer d. L Lacko 61 61 63
 N Djokovic d. M Granollers 61 63 61
 T Berdych d. M Crugnola 64 60 62
 A Roddick d. J Hajek 61 62 62
 F Verdasco d. R Schuettler 61 63 62
 G Monfils d. T de Bakker 67(5) 26 75 62 61
 N Almagro d. S Robert 64 63 67(4) 75
 M Fish d. V Hanescu 26 46 63 75 63
 I Ljubicic d. P Luczak 63 63 76(2)
L Kubot d.  S Querrey 57 62 36 61 86
 S Wawrinka d. T Gabashvili 76(3) 64 64
F Mayer (GER) d.  N Davydenko 63 46 76(4) 64
 A Montanes d. D Brown 64 62 36 26 75
 J Monaco d. S Greul 76(5) 76(4) 62
 R Gasquet d. F Dancevic 63 64 64
 V Troicki d. D Tursunov 62 36 62 60
A Mannarino d. R Harrison 64 63 64
G Simon d. Y Lu 67(3) 62 64 62
T Robredo d. S Devvarman 76(4) 63 64
K Nishikori d. F Fognini 61 64 67(4) 64
X Malisse d. P Andujar 61 62 76(3)
G Dimitrov d. A Golubev 61 64 62
F Gil d. P Cuevas 64 67(9) 46 63 97
B Paire d. F Cipolla 61 75 61
P Kohlschreiber d. T Kamke 16 46 76(6) 64 64
I Dodig d. I Karlovic 64 36 67(5) 64 64
S Stakhovsky d. D Brands 62 63 64
N Mahut d. B Dabul 63 64 64
J Tipsarevic d. M Zverev 63 61 64
R Haase d. C Berlocq 64 63 76(5)
I Andreev d. F Volandri 63 76(3) 63
I Kunitsyn d. M Przysiezny 67(1) 64 64 76(6)
January 7, 2011
No. 1 seed Robin Soderling d. Mattew Ebden 6-3, 6-2; Radek Stepanek d. No. 7 seed Florian Mayer 6-3, 6-3.
Aircel Chennai Open—India
No. 1 seed Tomas Berdych d. Blaz Kavicic 6-3, 6-3; No. 7 seed Xavier Malisse d. Bjorn Phau 6-0, 6-2.
January 5, 2011
Brisbane International—Brisbane, Australia
No. 2 seed Andy Roddick d. Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-4, 6-1; No. 5 seed Marcos Baghdatis d. Lukasz Kubot 6-2, 6-2; Radek Stepanek d. No. 4 Mardy Fish 6-3, 6-1; No. 7 seed Florian Mayer d. Ricard Berankis 6-4, 4-6, 6-4; Santiago Giraldo d. Benjamin Becker 6-3, 6-4; Kevin Anderson d. No. 6 seed Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-1.
Aircel Chennai Open—India
No. 1 seed Tomas Berdych d. Ivan Dodig 6-2, 6-4; Blaz Kavcic d. Robert Kendrick 6-2, 6-2.
January 4, 2011
No. 5 seed Marcos Baghdatis d. Florent Serra 3-6, 7-5, 6-4; Benjamin Becker d. No. 3 seed Fernando Verdasco 6-1, 6-7(2), 6-3; No. 1 seed Robin Soderling d. Ryan Harrison 6-2, 6-4; Matthew Ebden d. John Millman 4-6. 6-2, 6-4; No. 4 seed Mardy Fish d. Adrian Mannarino 6-1, 6-4; Radek Stepanek d. Tobias Kamke 5-7, 6-1, 6-4; Kevin Anderson d. Peter Luczak 6-4, 6-4; Richard Berankis d. Arnaud Clement 6-4, 6-3.
Aircel Chennai Open—India
No. 3 seed Stanislas Wawrinka d. Rohan Bopanna 6-4, 6-4; Alexandre Kudryavtsev d. Yuri Bhambri 6-2, 6-1; No. 1 seed Tomas Berdych d. Fredrico Gil 6-0, 6-1; No. 8 seed Robin Haase d. Frank Dancevic 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-4; No. 4 seed Richard Gasquet d. Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-1, 6-3; No. 7 seed Xavier Malisse d. Marsel Ilhan 6-3, 6-1; Alejandro Falla d. Rui MacHado 7-5, 6-3.