ATP: Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur 2010 Men’s Draw

September 25, 2010

The 28-man draw for this year’s Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur 2010 event will feature Robin Soderling, Nikolay Davydenko, Tomas Berdych, Mikhail Youzhny, and David Ferrer.

For the complete men’s draw to this year’s ATP World Tour 250 point event, click the link below.

Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur 2010 men’s draw.

Davis Cup: Semifinal Preview

September 14, 2010

Argentina's David Nalbandian (R) celebrates with team mate Horacio Zeballos their victory over Russia in their Davis Cup World Group quarter-final tennis match in Moscow, July 11, 2010. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin (RUSSIA - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)

by: Nima Naderi

Davis Cup Preview:

Playing for one’s country often brings out the best level of play from the world’s greatest tennis players. With the Davis Cup World Group competition shaved down to four elite teams, this weekend’s action in France and Serbia should bring forth some exhilarating storylines.

Fresh off of his great run in New York, Novak Djokovic will quickly head to Serbia in order to aid his country toward their first ever Davis Cup final. Squaring off against a fresh Czech team, Djokovic and company will have to dig deep in order to survive.

The indoor facility in Lyon, France will host the weekend’s second World Group tie. Played on a slick, indoor, hard-court surface, the French squad led by Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet, will be in tough against the never-say-die Argentines. Top-ranked Argentine David Nalbandian has publicly made it clear that his career goal is to hoist the Davis Cup title, and he’ll be joined in his quest by consistent baseline player Juan Monaco.

Let’s now take a look at the respective semifinal World Group ties, as well as outlining the World Group playoff match ups.

France vs. Argentina—Palais des Sports de Gerland, Lyon

France leads Argentina 4-0 in career ties.

Team Captain for France: Guy Forget

Team Captain for Argentina: Tito Vazquez

The always dangerous Frenchmen will be playing in their second straight tie at home. With Monfils, Gasquet, and Michael Llodra pulling in quality performances at the US Open, the transition to the enclosed court in Lyon should be favorable.

Monfils could become the X-factor in this contest, depending on his mindset. Forgetting how to compete against Djokovic during their quarterfinal contest at the Open, Monfils will have to put forth a better effort in front of his local fans. Gasquet and Llorda have also endured up and down seasons, but both players rebounded nicely to win a few matches in the Big Apple.

Llodra will likely be Forget’s singles choice alongside Monfils, while Gasquet and Gilles Simon could take over for Saturday’s doubles rubber.

David Nalbandian will likely have to win both of his singles matches—just like he did in Russia—in order for his squad to advance. The doubles tandem of Eduardo Schwank and Horacio Zeballos did reach the semifinals of the US Open, but their loopy strokes and slower serves will not be favored on the indoor surface.

Taking into account the variables of the court, and Llodra’s serve and volley expertise, I’d say that France has a slight advantage in this tie.

Although Nalbandian will be tough to beat, he’ll need some help from his amigos if he’s to advance. Unless Nalbandian takes part in Saturday’s doubles action, I’m not entirely convinced that Argentina can survive with Schwank and Zeballos pairing up on Saturday.

This tie should provide some great cat and mouse dialogue for the near 6,000 in attendance.

Pick: France wins 3-2.

Serbia vs. Czech Republic—Belgrade Arena, Belgrade

First time meeting.

Team Captain for Serbia: Bogdan Obradovic

Team Captain for Czech Republic: Jaroslav Navratil

Highlighted by a fatigued Serbian team versus a fresh Czech Republic squad, the weekend’s second World Group semifinal could be the most compelling.

Where Djokovic will be beaming with confidence from his stellar run in New York, one has to question the transition that he’ll take from court surfaces to countries when gearing up for this tie. Djokovic was put through the ringer in reaching the finals at the US Open, and he’ll be hard-pressed to recover in time for his matches. Viktor Troicki, who almost defeated Djokovic in the first round of the Open, holds a powerful game, but has struggled with confidence issues throughout his career.

Janko Tipsarevic also put forth a respectable march in New York by defeating Andy Roddick in the second round, but a recent ankle injury could hinder his court coverage.

Doubles dynamo Nenad Zimonjic should be able to keep up his end of the bargain, but he’ll need a worthy partner in order to prevail.

The Czech team will be entering this weekend’s action full of promise. With Berdych, Radek Stepanek, Jan Hajek, and Ivo Minar either losing in the first round of the Open or failing to qualify, the physically fresher Czech Republic team will be favored. Reaching the finals of last year’s Davis Cup competition before losing to Spain, Berdych and Stepanek could end up playing the entire weekend.

With Djokovic being spent, and Berdych and Stepanek in fresher form, an upset at home for the Czechs appears more than likely.

Tipsarevic could prove to be Serbia’s saving grace in this tie, but he’ll have to engage in the similar go-for-broke mentally that he showed against Roddick in New York.

All in all, taking into account Djokovic’s late arrival to Serbia, coupled by the Czech Republic’s rested squad, I’m more inclined to pick a repeat run for the Berdych led team.

Look for the crowd to be involved in a major way in this tie, but it may not be enough considering the variables that have been presented.

Pick: Czech Republic wins 3-2.

World Group Play-Offs

Israel vs Austria (Begins 16 September)
Nokia Stadium, Tel Aviv
Hard – Indoors

Colombia vs United States
Plaza de Toros La Santamaria , Bogota
Clay – Outdoors

Germany vs South Africa
TC Weissenhof Stuttgart, Stuttgart
Clay – Outdoors

Sweden vs Italy
Sparbanken Lidkoping Arena, Lidkopoing
Hard – Indoors

India vs Brazil
SDAT Tennis Stadium, Chennai
Hard – Outdoors

Australia vs Belgium
Cairns International Tennis Centre, North Cairns
Hard – Outdoors

Kazakhstan vs Switzerland
The National Tennis Centre, Astana
Hard – Indoors

Romania vs Ecuador
Centrul National de Tenis, Bucharest
Clay – Outdoors

Americas Zone Group

Canada vs. Dominican Republic

Rexall Center, Canada
Hard- Outdoor

Canada

Players: Peter Polansky, Frank Dancevic, Milos Raonic, and Daniel Nestor.
Team Captain: Martin Laurendeau

Dominican Republic

Players: Jhonson Garcia, Victor Estrella, Luis Delgado, and Jose Hernandez
Team Captain: Rafael Moreno

USO: Day 3 Results: Murray, Querrey, and Isner Move on; Berdych Upset

September 1, 2010

Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic hits a return against Michael Llodra of France during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 1, 2010. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)

US Open—New York

First-Round Results:

No. 4 seed Andy Murray d. Lukas Lacko 6-3, 6-2, 6-2; Michael Llodra d. No. 7 seed Tomas Berdych 7-6(3), 6-4, 6-4;  No. 12 seed Mikhail Youzhny d. Andrey Golubev 6-2, 6-3, 6-3; No. 14 seed Nicolas Almagro d. Potito Starace 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(5); Ryan Harrison d. No. 15 seed Ivan Ljubicic 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-4; No. 18 seed John Isner d. Frederico Gil 6-4, 6-3, 6-4; No. 20 seed Sam Querrey d. Bradley Klahn 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4; No. 25 seed Stanislas Wawrinka d. Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 6-2, 6-2; No. 29 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber d. Tobias Kamke 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4; Juan Ignacio Chela d. Yen-Hsun Lu 6-4, 4-6 6-3, 6-3; Sergiy Stakhovsky d. Peter Luczak 6-7(8), 7-5, 6-4, 6-2; Dudi Sela d. Xavier Malisse 7-6(1), 7-5, 6-2; Dustin Brown d. Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo 6-4, 7-6(6), 7-5; Marcel Granollers d. Andreas Seppi 2-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3; Guillermo Garcia-Lopez d. Lukasz Kubot 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(4); Gilles Simon d. Donald Young 6-1, 6-4, 6-2; Marco Chiudinelli d. Jack Sock 6-1, 6-4, 1-6, 6-1; Victor Hanescu d. Carlos Berlocq 6-2, 6-4, 6-3.

Second Round Results:

No. 17 seed Gael Monfils d. Igor Andreev 6-3, 6-4, 6-3.

Matches that are still to come on Wednesday will feature Andy Roddick vs. Janko Tipsarevic.

Cincinnati Masters: Berdych, Fish, Isner, and Hewitt Advance on Day 2 Action

August 17, 2010

Tomas Berdych of Czech Republic hits a return to Paul-Henri Mathieu of France during their first round match at the Cincinnati Masters tennis tournament in Cincinnati, August 17, 2010. REUTERS/John Sommers II   (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)

Western & Southern Financial Group Masters—Cincinnati, Ohio

Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych continued his fine form on Tuesday during his second-round match in Cincinnati. Defeating Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-4, 6-4, Berdych improved to 41-14 on the season, and will next face Marcos Baghdatis for a spot in the quarterfinals. Baghdatis needed two hours and eight minutes to oust Thomaz Bellucci 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (4).

Berdych, who served for the match against Roger Federer last week during the quarterfinals in Toronto, struck six aces and broke serve on three of four occasions. Winning 77 percent of his first serve points, Berdych kept his unbeaten streak against Frenchman intact at 3-0 lifetime.

The towering Czech also reached the semifinals of the French Open earlier this year.

In search of a dominate Grand Slam performance, American Mardy Fish powered through former top six player Gilles Simon during first-round action. Winning in Newport and Atlanta to start the summer, Fish needed one hour and 43 minutes to record a 7-6 (4), 7-5 scoreline.

Reaching the finals of Cincinnati in 2003, Fish talked about his comfort level on hard-courts.

“Well, I think I tend to play better in the States,” said Fish. Summer has always been a good time of year for me. It’s close to home. You know, friends and family can come and go a lot easier.

“And the courts and the weather have always suited my game real well. It’s fast this year. The weather tends to be maybe a little bit hotter. It’s usually extremely hot here. So that’s something different.

“But, you know, conditions are still almost perfect out there. You know, not much wind, not much humidity, still 80 or 85 degrees or something like that. But you don’t feel it at all compared to some other events we’ve played this year.”

Fish will next face his toughest opponent of the summer when he faces No. 8 seed Fernando Verdasco in the second-round. The American holds a 2-1 head-to-head series lead over the Spaniard.

Former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt benefited from an injury to Yen-Hsun Lu to advance to second-round action. Losing by a set and 4-0, Lu retired with a back injury.

Hewitt, a finalist in 2002 and 2004, will next face powerful Swede Robin Soderling for a place in the third-round. Holding a 3-0 career head-to-head series lead over Soderling, Hewitt captured two straight set wins over the No. 5 seed in 2004, while overcoming a first set loss to prevail at the Cincinnati event last year.

Hewitt, who captured the Halle event earlier this year, withdrew from Toronto last week with a leg injury.

Elsewhere, Denis Istomin d. James Blake 6-3, 6-0; John Isner d. Lukasz Kubot 6-2, 6-3; Richard Gasquet d. No. 12 seed Mikhail Youzhny 2-6, 6-4, 6-1; David Nalbandian d. No. 15 seed Ivan Ljubicic 7-5 6-0; Alejandro Falla d. No. 16 seed Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-4; Julien Benneteau d. Michael Llodra 3-6, 6-3, 6-2; Philipp Kohlschreiber d. Horacio Zeballos 6-7(2), 6-3, 6-4; Ernests Gulbis d. Donald Young 7-6(5), 6-4, and Jeremy Chardy d. Florian Mayer 6-2, 7-6(4).

Wednesday’s action in Cincinnati will feature:

Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Andy Murray.

Rogers Cup: Tomas Berdych Quarterfinal Press Conference

August 14, 2010

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You seemed to be struggling with your serve during the first set tonight and then suddenly turned things around in the second and even in the third set were serving quite well. What adjustments did you make between that first and second set to raise your percentage on serve?
TOMAS BERDYCH: Well, I don’t think it was just any like big adjustments on my serve. I mean, I just ?? I was just keep going, you know. You know, tried to do it every time the same, you know, same thing.
Yeah, that’s how it is, you know, you just start the match and sometimes you don’t feel it right, you don’t feel the right rhythm, and, you know, all of a sudden just, you know, with more and more games, you just getting closer on it, and that’s it.
So I don’t think that I just changed something that I would serve like with more spin or something, so no, it was just, you know, same as beginning.

Q. What do you think in such a tight match, in such a match that could have gone either way, what do you think was the difference tonight?
TOMAS BERDYCH: Oh, well, I mean, the difference was really, really small one, you know. I would say that we both play quite a good tennis today. But just, you know, I mean, just everybody see like, you know, forehand, backhands, whatever.
But I think the part of the game is the luck, as well. And this aspect I was just missing a little bit today, you know. It was little more on his side, and, you know, it was just about one, two points in the tiebreak.

Q. You’re referring to the net cord? I think he hit ?? there was one that just dribbled over I think early in the tiebreak?
TOMAS BERDYCH: Yeah, could be the one. We can find couple of more. (Smiling.)
Q. You’ve got some taping on your left knee and thigh area. Can you speak about what you’re dealing with there, and did that play any part at all tonight in hindering you in any way?
TOMAS BERDYCH: No. I mean, everything is fine. I mean, I’m not looking for any excuses, so I’m fine.

Q. Having had the close history, history of close matches with him, and having beaten him the last two times, does this make it easier knowing you can beat him, or does it make it more difficult to take the loss?
TOMAS BERDYCH: You could just see it on the court that we played today against, you know, such a long match. I lost in the tiebreak of the third set, so I don’t think that even with any other opponent you can say it is easier or tougher, so every match is different. That how it was today.
It was different match than we play in Wimbledon, and, yeah, I mean, it was about just couple of points. It was ?? today it was on his side, so yeah, that’s how it is. Maybe if we gonna play tomorrow, it will be completely different match again.

Q. I remember, I think I noted somewhere at 5?4 you were serving, on those deuce points, each time you kept sliding it out wide to Federer’s forehand. Any reason for that? Was that a preferred play, a game plan, something that you had done?
TOMAS BERDYCH: Well, actually, I mean, I was quite confident for the serve to go wide, you know, and then even if I go ?? or if I went wide, and the serve was not like kind of ace or something like that, then I would say he’s like ?? I mean, he’s like ?? he’s not that strong, I would say, on the forehand return, that side, you know, because from the backhand he can play more options, you know. He can play slice, he can play with a lift, he can just push it up there, just put it in the court.
And from the side you have, you know, more ?? you just have more angles, you know, to serve, you know, just open up the court.
Yeah, I served it, I would say, quite well there but then just make the mistake from the second shot, which is a pretty big mistake, but, yeah, I mean, that’s just how it is.

Q. I know this is a tough loss, and I don’t know what is in your nature. From my own personal opinion, you don’t look too happy. I don’t know, but is it that the crowd actually react to you? You think they were not very friendly?
TOMAS BERDYCH: No, definitely not. How can I be happy after the match I lost, and I lost 7?6 in the third when I was serving to close out the match. There is no, any other aspects that I can be sitting here and be just a little bit, you know, happy.
So you are right, that I’m really sad after the match like that. You know, just I think that’s the worst thing, you know. I don’t ?? I hate losing any other matches, not even if you lose 7?6 in the fourth, if you just lost 6?1, 6?1, I hate it, so just need take some time and then just go again for the next matches.

Q. Are you satisfied with quarterfinal in this tournament, or were you hoping for something more?
TOMAS BERDYCH: Actually, I’m not the one like who’s going to come for tournament, just see the draw and say, Well, I want to go semis. I’m kind of player that, you know, just want to play my best every match I go on court, try to win it.
And what happen is just gonna happen. You know, I’m really sad that I lost today, and yeah, of course, I mean, the quarterfinal is ?? it’s all right result for me that, you know, I beat all those guys who are, you know, just a little bit behind me just, you know, to like defend my position, but this match is ?? well, yeah, I’m sad from that and just take some time, you know, to get ready again.

Q. What did you think of the crowd? Did they annoy you? Did they affect, you know, the tiebreaker at the end?
TOMAS BERDYCH: No, I mean, it’s ?? it’s all right. I’m happy that so many people just come to see, and they were enjoying, so just let them enjoying, and that’s it.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

Rogers Cup: Federer Fights Past Berdych to Reach Semifinals

August 13, 2010

Roger Federer of Switzerland reacts after winning his match against Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament in Toronto August 13 , 2010.  REUTERS/ Mike Cassese  (CANADA - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)

Rogers Cup—Toronto, Canada

No. 3 seed Roger Federer staved off elimination from a determined Tomas Berdych on Friday evening to advance to the semifinals of the Rogers Cup.

Needing two hours and 41 minutes to advance, Federer came back from a 5-2 deficit in the third set to prevail, 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (5).

Berdych, who played the big points exceeding well throughout the three set epic, saved 10 of 12 break points against his serve. With both men hitting eight aces on the night, Federer gained his lone break of serve in the 10th game of the final set.

Leading 4-0 in the final set tiebreak, Federer would benefit from a Berdych unforced error on match point to advance. Losing to his Czech opponent at Wimbledon and the Miami Masters earlier this year, Federer was relieved by his come-from-behind victory.

“At the beginning of the year, these were the kind of matches I was losing,” said the two-time Rogers Cup champ.

“It’s good to get a win over a player who has defeated me twice in a row.”

Reaching his second Masters 1000 semifinal of the year, Federer will next face either No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic or Jeremy Chardy for a place in the finals.

Rogers Cup: Finding the Fight; Moving Like a Player; Sod-Off

August 12, 2010

Roger Federer of Switzerland serves against Michael Llodra of France during their match at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament in Toronto August 12, 2010.  REUTERS/Mike Cassese  (CANADA - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)

Rogers Cup—Toronto, Canada

It can certainly become a difficult proposition for a player to get geared up for a long and hazy day of Center Court action in Toronto when your name is Roger Federer.

Called upon to highlight the day session, Federer would face the precocious and unorthodox game of Michael Llodra. Losing his opening service game in immediate fashion, Federer would fall behind 4-1 before mounting his comeback. Finding very little rhythm against the edging game of the Frenchman, Federer would own the first set tiebreak after encountering a sub par start.

While observing Federer going through the motions to start the match, I couldn’t help but wonder what he was thinking.

Was he really worried that he would lose the match? Was he really concerned with Llodra’s level or play—or, was his mindset preoccupied with justifying his salmon pink shirt?

Answering the last question first, Federer would pound a service winner to lead 6-2 in the tiebreaker after a women in the stands calmly remarked: “Roger, you look stunning in pink.”

With his metrosexual connotations in check, Federer would prove (with some convincing) that he still does cares about winning.

After engaging in a long baseline exchange to start set two, Federer was brought to the net by Llodra only to be lobbed on the following shot. Racing back to execute a sky-lob recovery, Federer would fail on his attempt to keep the point going, but his effort and determined facial grimace couldn’t be questioned.

When asked during his post match presser if he still has fun when he practices, Federer had this to say:

“I like this game, you know.”

Well, the refined and soft spoken demeanor of the Swiss is often tough to read, but his ability to progress through the early rounds of events still remains intact.

Referring to the sport as “not having the versatility that it once did,” Federer encountered a “first” in his match against Llodra.

Losing by a landslide in the second set, the flamboyant Frenchman struck an underhand serve at 1-4 down on the deuce side. The look on Federer’s face when he shanked his forehand long off of his opponent’s 87 KPM serve was priceless. He knew it was perhaps the worst miss of his life, but he found immediate solace by breaking Llodra’s serve to lead 5-1.

I guess we’re in a new era for the mighty Federer. An era where underhand serves are tough to return; pink shirts are all the rage; and the joy of competing still remains the most important part of his tennis.

We’ll see how much fun Federer has tomorrow against Tomas Berdych. The man who defeated him at Wimbledon.

Speaking of the much improved Czech, he dodged a major bullet in Alexandr Dolgopolov today. Capturing the first set in comfortable form, Berdych fell victim to the quick-fire serving of his opponent during the second set. Receiving a medical timeout on his right thigh muscle before leveling the match at a set apiece, Berdych appeared in danger of exiting the event prematurely.

I’ve wrote extensively about Dologopolov throughout this week, and there’s certainly a lot to praise about the 21-year-old. Dolgopolov’s serve is almost impossible to read; his variety and placement is further exemplified by not giving his opponent enough reaction time to anticipate its direction. If the youngster can get stronger and deal with the heat of the North American hard-court season, then there’s no reason why he won’t find himself in the top 15 before the end of the year.

By contrast, Berdych has to be given credit for completely turning around his court coverage. Once known as slow and steady, Berdych can now race from sideline to sideline and snap a forehand winner off with regularity.

The Wimbledon finalist has also improved his volleying, and although he won’t serve and volley just yet, his transitioning from the baseline to the forecourt is beginning to take shape.

Staying on serve throughout nine games of the third set, Berdych would finally get his chance at victory by receiving a sloppy game from his opponent. After the stellar serving which Dolgopolov showcased throughout the second-set tiebreak, the unseeded Ukrainian donated a double fault on match point to end his tournament.

There was simply no way Berdych would have won this match two years ago, considering his mental frailty. Props to the big man for getting it done by any means necessary.

***

Robin Soderling simply met the wrong man on the other side of the net today. Facing inform Argentine David Nalbandian, Soderling was cast aside and joined the list of the 11 straight players to feel the wrath of the former top 10 player.

Winning the first set on the strength of his booming serve, Soderling struck eight aces and won nearly 80 percent of his first serve points. Losing his momentum to begin the second set, Soderling would quickly fall behind 3-1. Nalbandian’s counter-punching returns began to clean the base and sidelines, while his own delivery was picking up in speed. Leveling the match at one set all, Nalbandian would open up his shoulders and unleash his two-handed backhand.

Racing through the final set to the tune of three breaks of serve, Nalbandian improved to 5-1 against his Swedish opponent, while reaching his second Masters quarterfinal of the year.

Nalbandian will likely next face defending champ Andy Murray, who is currently rolling through the third set against Gael Monfils.

If thoughtful and crafty baseline tennis is your thing, then make sure you leave sometime aside on Friday for that one.

With Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic still on the docket, day four action at the Rexall Center is far from complete.

Talk soon.

Nima

Alarm Clocks, Double D’s, and a Little Off the Rise

August 10, 2010

TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 10: David Nalbandian of Argentina adjusts his racquet between points against David Ferrer of Spain during the Rogers Cup at the Rexall Centre on August 10, 2010 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Day two action at the Rogers Cup began, continued, and currently remains the hottest day of the week thus far.

With on-court temperatures soaring towards 42 °C, the ATP boys appeared to lose a little mental clarity. While Tomas Berdych made sure that his early wake up call was in check, David Ferrer couldn’t help but rip his shirt in frustration after losing a sizable lead against David Nalbandian. Alexandr Dolgopolov began to cramp, shake, and lose his momentum, only to find his way to the net and defeat Philipp Petzschner in a third set ‘breaker.

Today was definitely hot; unless you spend your summers in Dubai, but there was no mistaking that the conditions altered the opinions of some players.

Rise And Shine, Tomas

After his ungrateful, and perhaps regretful departure from the Washington event last week, Tomas Berdych was once again called upon to open up Center Court at a major event.

Losing in three tight sets to Xavier Malisse in D.C., Berdych later told the assembled media that he “probably” would not return to the event next year because he shouldn’t have been given an early start time. Well, the Toronto Masters is a slightly bigger event, and the tournament committee certainly didn’t have Tomas’ sleeping habits in mind when making the schedule.

Berdych did have an opportunity to get accustomed to the early Toronto mornings by ringing in the Toronto Stock Exchange on Monday. I wonder if the big man put in a request for the markets to begin an hour later in order for him to catch a little more shut-eye? We may never know.

Nevertheless, Berdych was in ominous form today against Sergiy Stakhovsky, the man who routed Richard Gasquet on Monday.

The Next Agassi?

Making my way to the outer reaches of the facility, I was eager to watch young Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Dolgopolov on a several occasions, but I’ve never seen him whack the ball in person. I caught a glimpse of the youngster warming up for the event with countryman Stakhovsky on Saturday, but his match against Philipp Petzscher today would be the first time I’ve seen him in match play.

Arriving at the contest at 4-all in third set, my previous thoughts of Dolgopolov were confirmed in 3D. His ultra talented array of shots had reminded me of a young Andre Agassi. There’s no question that Dolgopolov moves better than Agassi ever did, but his off-the-rise ability was very reminiscent of the former American player.

Dolgopolov’s low ball toss is extremely difficult to read, and his slice backhand loses gravity a touch faster than it’s supposed to.

Suffering from heat exhaustion, Dolgopolov made the clever tactical choice to approach the net and conserve any energy that he had left. Leading 6-4 in the final set tiebreak, Dolgopolov benefited from a final Petzschner double fault to advance to the second-round. Slicking his hair back while removing his socceresque headband, Dolgopolov was overlooked at the net by a handshake from Petzschner. Apparently (and this came from Dolgopolov’s agent), Petzschner was upset because he was under the impression that his opponent would retire before the match was competed.

Feeling slightly ill before taking the court, Dolgopolov discussed his opponent’s behavior after the match: “It’s his problem. I’m not angry about it. [It] happens.”

Spoken like a true veteran.

If Dolgopolov continues to improve and get fitter, then we could have another “Agassi-type” player on our hands.

For those of you who saw Dolgopolov’s match against Rafael Nadal at the Madrid Masters, you’re well-versed in what the youngster can do. For those you how haven’t seen Dolgopolov in person, or on TV, I can assure you that it will only be a matter of time.

D-Squared

I had my own reservations going into today’s all-David battle on Center Court. Would David Nalbandian recover from winning his first title in over a year, or, would the former world No. 3 player fade with the humidity of Toronto, and look forward to a deep charge in Cincinnati?

On a vastly different note, I was certain that a rested David Ferrer would come out guns blazing.

Well, I would leave the all-David match with a sense of security that I was right with my pre-match thoughts, but I was indeed surprised with the winner of the contest.

With both players sweating before the first ball was struck, Ferrer would strike first by breaking serve to lead 3-1. The diminutive Spaniard would immediately lose his serve in the ensuing game, while also squandering a set point at 4-5, 30-40.

Hitting a delicious backhand up the line winner at 6-5, 30-15, Nalbandian would finish off the first set by placing an out-wide serve in the corner, before lacing an inside out forehand winner.

Nalbandian’s adrenaline would take a back seat in the second set, while Ferrer’s tenacious demeanor would take over. Leading 5-2, Ferrer would produce an on-the-run forehand winner to tie the match at a set a piece.

Continuing his momentum at the beginning of the third set, Ferrer would break Nalbandian to lead 2-0. The success that Nalbandian achieved last week in Washington was beginning to catch up with him, and a sign of the Argentine’s drop in form was illustrated by a country club level volley that he missed into net.

However, in true Nalbandian fashion, his experience would race to the rescue and break Ferrer in the ensuing game. Finding himself on serve, Nalbandian would engage in his court craft to further frustrate his Spanish opponent. Losing three straight games to trail 3-2, Ferrer would essentially check out of the match by ripping his shirt in disgust.

Capturing his sixth straight win on Tour, Nalbandian could become the No. 1 dark-horse story heading into the US Open.

The Argentine will next face Tommy Robredo, with Swede Robin Soderling on the horizon.

I’m off to catch a little bit of the Roger Federer match, while trying to enjoy some dinner in the process.

Talk soon.

Berdych to Ring in Toronto Stock Exchange

August 8, 2010

Press Release

In recognition of the new presenting sponsorship of Rogers Cup presented by National Bank in Toronto, world No. 8 Tomas Berdych will join Tennis Canada and National Bank Financial to open trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Monday.

Berdych Upset with D.C. Officials After Loss

August 7, 2010

WASHINGTON - AUGUST 06: Tomas Berdych of Czech Republic serves against Xavier Malisse of Belgium during their quarterfinal match on day 5 of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic at the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center on August 6, 2010 in Washington, DC. Malisse won the match 6-4,3-6,6-2. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Top seed Tomas Berdych was visibly upset after losing in quarterfinals of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic to Xavier Malisse of Belgium on Friday.

After his loss to Malisse, the Associated Press reported that Berdych told the assembled media that he may not return to the event next year.

“I was feeling like I was still sleeping,” said Berdych, who was forced to play the day’s first match.

“Maybe I’m not going to come next year,” said the Czech. “If you like the tournament, if you like the place, then you always want to come back. But if you get an experience like that, we will see.”

Berdych, who recently reached the Wimbledon final, will now travel to Toronto to take part in the Rogers Cup. The powerful Czech will be the No. 7 seed in Toronto.

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