Nadal Nabs Sweet 600th in Victory at Indian Wells
Rafael Nadal won his third title in four events and his 22nd Masters title with a 4-6 6-3 6-4 victory over a valiant Juan Martin Del Potro. Nadal started the first set strong, but Del Potro stepped up his game to break and take it, dominating with his forehand and holding serve. In the second, things began to change though, as Nadal began to wear down the tired Argentine. In the third, he broke early and held on to finish off the physically and mentally demanding match in which Del Potro did as much as he could to prevail.
Nadal had previously rumbled past Ryan Harrison, got a walkover into the round of 16. Then he dealt with a red-hot Ernest Gulbis in three sets, in a match where yet again his opponent threw everything but the kitchen sink at him but still couldn’t win it. Next, he defeated a hobbled Roger Federer in straights (in what was a lackluster meeting between the two legends) and gritted past a top form Tomas Berdych in straights.
Nadal will once again return to the top four, surpassing Ferrer. He has to be considered a de facto top two or three in the world right now, and fully back after the injury setbacks he had dealt with for half a year. As tennis now heads towards the clay court season, he will remain a feared opponent by everyone on tour. Rafa will skip Miami and get some rest.
Del Potro crushed his early round opponents Nikolay Davydenko, Bjorn Phau and Tommy Haas before coming back from a set down to beat Andy Murray and a set down to shock Novak Djokovic (who simply ran out of gas in the end) to make the final. Del Potro-Djokovic was the match of the tournament, and the Serb was simply in awe of what Del Potro was able to bring to the table in their meeting. JPDM showed the kind of form he hasn’t really shown since 2009 before the wrist injury bothered him. This is also a much better Del Potro than we saw at the first part of the year.
Semifinalist Djokovic beat Fabio Fognini, Grigor Dimitrov, Sam Querrey and Jo Wilfried Tsonga. The quarterfinal against Tsonga was a pure clinic. Semifinalist Berdych beat Mischa Zverev, Florian Mayer, Richard Gasquet and Kevin Anderson.
In the doubles, the Bryan Brothers completed the “career Masters Grand Slam” by winning their first career Indian Wells title over Treat Huey and Jerzy Janowicz,. The Brothers surpassed yet another career goal.
ATP Indian Wells: BNP Paribas Open Men’s Preview
Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
The first master’s event of the year is here with the dual men’s and women’s event in Indian Wells, California. All the top players plan to participate and the field is as strong as it can get.
ATP Indian Wells
BNP Paribas Open
ATP World Tour Masters 1000
Indian Wells, California
March 7-March 17, 2013
Prize Money: $ 4,330,625
Indian Wells stayed in the news during the winter and spring because of a debate over a proposed prize money increase, which was eventually approved by the ATP for a single year.
Top 8 seeds (who all receive first round byes)
1: Novak Djokovic
2: Roger Federer
3: Andy Murray
4: David Ferrer
5: Rafael Nadal
6: Tomas Berdych
7: Juan Martin Del Potro
8: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
The top 8 seeds are the ATP rankings top 8, and all of the seeds are part of the ATP rankings top 32. All 32 seeds get 1stround byes.
First round matchups to watch:
Pablo Andujar vs. (wc) Steve Johnson
Andujar is coming off playing the golden swing clay events and is an abysmal 2-7 on the year. That being said, he is ranked 80+ spots ahead of Johnson in the rankings and thus, regardless of his form, a victory here would be a success for the rising American with a career high ranking just outside the top 130. Johnson made the quarters in San Jose and qualified in Australia but has been mostly average this year and he could use a good run to jump start his year. Look for him to get the upset.
Ryan Harrison vs. Go Soeda
Speaking of slumping players, we have Ryan Harrison, still ranked in the top 100, but having lost 3 straight matches to 3 very average players. He has a similar opponent this time, the steady but bland Soeda who has also only won 1 match in his last 4 tries. These 2 met once last year and Harrison won, but Harrison will be dealing with home pressure at a big event and is playing very poorly right now. Soeda could continue Harrison’s downturn.
Viktor Troicki vs David Goffin
This match will be a rematch of their 5 set Davis Cup rubber battle last month on clay. Troicki won it, but has struggled since, while Goffin is also having an abysmal year. This match could go either way and both these guys badly need a win to get some confidence.
Jarkko Nieminen vs Igor Sijsling
The veteran Fin met the up and coming Dutchman twice last year and they split victories. They both have solid games and Sijsling seems to be at the cusp of a breakthrough and hopefully fully recovered from shoulder issues. Nieminen last played indoors in Montpellier and will be adjusting, but also will be well rested, while Sijsling had an early retirement in Delray. This match is a tossup with an edge towards sizzling Igor.
(Q) Daniel Brands vs. Marcos Baghdatis
Brands is back in the top 75 and has had a great year thus far, most recently making the quarters as a qualifier in Dubai he will try to continue his success as a qualifier against Baghdatis who has been a bit up and down and may be vulnerable to an upset.
The dominant Novak Djokovic will face Fabio Fognini or Aljaz Bedene and then could face Grigor Dimitrov in the 3rd round if Dimitrov can beat Matt Ebden or Andrey Kuznetsov. In the round of 16 he could draw a seemingly struggling Sam Querrey, Jack Sock, qualifier Ivo Karlovic, Marinko Matosevic (who opens with Tommy Robredo) or perhaps least likely of all a struggling Juan Monaco, who is still seeded 14th. Novak should cruise to the quarters.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will play Robin Haase or James Blake and then could perhaps face Mardy Fish, who hasn’t played since the US Open and will finally be making his comeback to the tour at Indian Wells. Fish actually gets an opening round bye and will face Benjamin Becker or Bobby Reynolds to open. His form is precarious for sure, though. Tsonga could get Milos Raonic next if Raonic can beat Michael Llodra or Daniel Munoz De La Nava (who qualified after a strong showing in Delray), and then Marin Cilic, or the Albert Ramos/Horacio Zeballos winner.
Andy Murray, who has always struggled at Indian Wells and took extra time off to get rested for this event and Miami afterwards will play Evgeny Donskoy or Tatsuma Ito and then could face Martin Klizan or Tim Smyczek if Smyczek can beat Yen-Hsun Lu. His first real test should be against Kei Nishikori in round 4 if Kei can beat either qualifier Dmitry Tursunov or qualifier Phillip Petzschener and then either a early year rematch with Alex Dogopolov or Santiago Giraldo/Carlos Berlocq. Dolgo is struggling and may not make it that far.
Juan Martin Del Potro, the Dubai semifinalist, will play Nikolay Davydenko or Paul Henri Mathieu before getting a chance to revenge his upset loss in Australia to Jeremy Chardy (if Chardy can get past the Alejandro Falla/Bjorn Phau winner). Del Potro could meet Tommy Haas or Nicolas Almagro if Almagro can best Lukas Lacko/Daniel Gimeno Traver and Haas beats the Johnson/Andujar winner.
An off form Roger Federer could run into early trouble in the 3rd round, where after beating a dangerous-in-his-own-right Denis Istomin or qualifier Vasek Pospisil he could meet Julian Benneteau (who just beat him in Rotterdam). Benneteau will need to beat Ivan Dodig or Guido Pella to advance that far, though.
Assuming Fed gets through that, he could get another chance to whip up on his countryman Stan Wawrinka if Wawrinka bests Roberto Bautista-Agut/Wayne Odesnik then likely a slumping John Isner. Isner can’t seem to beat anyone of quality these days. Big John will face the Lukas Rosol/Lleyton Hewitt winner in round 2.
An ice cold Janko Tipsarevic will play Delray finalist and qualifier Ernests Gulbis or Memphis finalist Feliciano Lopez. The winner would face the Brands/Baghdatis winner or Andreas Seppi. This is all setting up of course for Rafael Nadal, in his first hard court tournament back (excluding the exhibition he played in New York). Nadal will play the Soeda/Harrison winner and then Leo Mayer/Xaiver Malisse or Mikhail Youzhny in what is actually a smooth start for the Spaniard.
David Ferrer will face Kevin Anderson or Victor Hanescu. Anderson could possibly upset him but it isn’t likely. The winner will face the Sijsling/Nieminen winner or Fernando Verdasco, who has been in iffy form himself. Gilles Simon will play Gilles Muller or Paolo Lorenzi and then Lukasz Kubot/Benoit Paire or Phillip Kohlschreiber, who has not played a match since the Davis Cup ties.
Richard Gasquet gets Thomaz Bellucci or Bernard Tomic, both in up and down form, but could still be a serious test for Gasquet. The winner likely faces Jerzy Janowicz, if Jano can beat Marcel Granollers/David Nalbandian.
Dubai finalist Tomas Berdych will face qualifier Mischa Zverev or a struggling Jurgen Melzer before getting an even easier draw with his 3rdround opponent, being one the slumping trio of Troicki/Goffin or Florian Mayer.
Dark Horses: Marinko Matosevic, Gilles Simon, Daniel Brands
Matosevic is a hot and cold player who can have spots of good tennis and then fall off the radar. He will be hoping to hit a hot spot in Indian Wells and he has the draw to do it with clay courters Robredo and Monaco, neither of whom are playing very well, and a struggling Querrey who he just beat in Memphis or the still inexperienced Sock. R16 is reasonable for him.
Simon is 11-5 on the year and has actually been playing well. He should benefit from the slow courts at Indian Wells given his style as a pusher and if he can beat Muller, Paire/Kohlschreiber/Kubot and then a possibly miffed Ferrer or even Nieminen/Sijsling he would be well on his way, again benefiting from facing struggling or surface adjusting players. I could see him in the quarters.
Brands plays well on hard courts and is bombing the ball right now. Baghdatis is an inconsistent player and Seppi is just so-so on hard courts. Tipsarevic can’t seem to win a match right now. He may not even survive Gulbis if Gulbis isn’t too tired from his whirlwind match play. Still, a tired Gulbis sets up well for Brands, and Lopez can be inconsistent too. I could see Brandswagon running into Nadal.
Djokovic d. Matosevic
Tsonga d. Raonic
Murray d. Nishikori
Del Potro d. Haas
Berdych d. Gasquet
Simon d. Ferrer
Nadal d. Brands
Federer d. Wawrinka
Djokovic should roll, Tsonga will have a miniscule edge over Raonic, Murray should be tested by Nishikori and that match may go the distance. Del Potro has too much for Haas, Berdy vs Reeshy should be close, Simon should upset Ferrer, Nadal should survive Brands and Federer should assail Stan again.
Djokovic d. Tsonga
Murray d. Del Potro
Berdych d. Simon
Federer d. Nadal
Djoker is unstoppable right now. Del Potro could again challenge Murray, but I’ll give the edge to AM. Berdy should beat Simon again and Federer should win over a still adjusting Nadal in their first meeting before the semifinals of a tournament since 2004.
Djokovic d. Murray
Berdych d. Federer
Djokovic is yet again unstoppable, as Murray couldn’t beat him in Melbourne, either. Berdych just beat Federer in Dubai and has every reason to do so again. He showed some fortitude in that match and I trust him enough to beat a lacking Federer.
Djokovic d. Berdych
A Dubai rematch. The result should be the same. Novak is dominating the game right now.
By Steve Fogleman for TennisEastCoast.com
At the end of the day, I am an avid tennis fan. But at the beginning of the day, I am an avid fan of rules and regulations. As a trial lawyer, I am constantly arguing interpretation before the courts in which I practice. In addition, I chair a local regulatory agency where we are often asked to make decisions on intepreting rules and regulations in administrative hearings.
Rules? I love ‘em. Without them, there would be chaos.
In January, I read a report on Tennis.com regarding spectators having been removed from the grounds of the ASB Classic and Heineken Open in Auckland, New Zealand for “using a handheld device, possibly to bet on specific points and take advantage of the delay of several seconds before other gamblers saw the points played on television”. According to the article, another man was ejected from Wimbledon last year for a similar offense.
This made me wonder: what kind of futuristic hand-held device could the transgressors have possessed? The answer is probably an I-phone.
Any cell phone can text scores to a third-party. Any smart phone can tweet scores through twitter to millions of people around the planet.
The Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) was set up in September 2008 as a joint initiative of the ITF, ATP, WTA and the Grand Slam Committee to look into “betting-related corruption challenges that faced professional tennis,” according to its website. According to the article below, TIU keeps a “blacklist” of known on-site tennis bettors.
A review of TIU’s site quickly demonstrates that their primary focus is on disciplining players (as in the recent lifetime ban of Daniel Koellerer) and others with a close association to the sport rather than fans. So, who’s the boss when it comes to a “twitter ban”?
ATP Rule 6.09 (F) says no tournament shall allow or authorize
dissemination, transmission, publication or release from the grounds of the tournament any live match score, or any related live statistical data until :30 seconds after the actual occurrence.
Section 17 (A) (19) of the 2012 WTA Official Rulebook states on Page 311 that
All media areas shall be gambling-free zones, and any persons credentialed for such areas, if found to be gambling on tennis or passing insider information to third parties for use in connection with gambling, shall have their credentials revoked. Media credentials must contain a provision whereby the media member acknowledges and agrees that he/she will not disseminate, transmit publish or release from the grounds of the tournament any live match score, or any related live statistical data until :30 seconds after the actual occurrence of the incident of match play or action that leads to such live score update (e.g. a point being scored), and that such use shall be solely for news reporting and editorial use. Any media known to be working for gambling companies shall not be issued credentials. If found to be working for a gambling company after issuance of the credential, the credential shall be revoked.
A look around the web shows that these rules are being highlighted in media credential requests from Wimbledon, Auckland, Indian Wells and the Estoril Open. However, it doesn’t appear that these rules were mentioned prior to 2011. And without naming names, I have seen many tournament credentials that did not have the required warning language.
In order for a rule to work, people need to know that such a rule exists. The WTA is now strictly enforcing this rule in 2012, according to an unnamed tournament official.
Why enforce the rule? It apparently exists to prohibit illegal gambling, in the sense that it is illegal to place a bet on something where a bettor has an advantage by already knowing the result before he/she places the bet. Betfair and other websites allow you to not only bet on the outcome of the match, but also place a bet on each serve, the number of points a player will win in a given game and so on. So, it seems that pro tennis wants to protect internet gambling from…the internet. The added irony here is that ALL ONLINE GAMBLING IS ILLEGAL IN THE UNITED STATES. I have no sympathy for gambling companies in this instance. If they use technology to allow these second-by-second exotic bets, then it’s obvious that the companies will occasionally be burned by someone who can use the internet better than they can.
Tennis betting does nothing positive for the sport, so why protect it? I’m still unclear on that. However, it is crystal clear that you can not disseminate match data for thirty seconds.
So, if you’re a fan who live tweets a score, they would probably have to (1) find you on the grounds, and (2) issue you a warning before tossing you out. If you’re credentialed media, you’ve already been warned by the notice on the back of your press pass.
Don’t look for any live tweets of match scores, medical timeouts or other determinative information from our website’s twitter account.
In reality, by the time a tweet is typed and then uploaded on a smart phone, thirty seconds should easily have passed. In fact, the wireless data reception is often terrible at tournaments. The US Open is famous for jammed smart phones. I always thought it was because thousands of people were overloading the nearest tower. Now I wonder if something more deliberate is afoot, since WTA and ATP rules authorize tournaments to tweak their own wireless service providers to build in a delay at their choosing.
So love it or hate it, it’s the rule. You’ve been forewarned, tennis tweeps!
Here’s a more traditional way to get tossed:
ESPN’s Mary Joe Fernandez and Darren Cahill held a conference call today wherein they discussed current events and observations of the game.
For one, Fernandez is fond of Christina McHale:
Christina is such a hard worker, with a great disposition. She wants to keep improving her game and she had a really good week. The next step for her is to finish off her matches. She had bad luck not finishing off Kerber, but I was proud of how she finished against Kvitova. She knows the keys to improving and her ranking just keeps going up.
Cahill was asked if he would compare the men’s top 10 of today to the top ten of ten years ago.
Every generation is different, but if you go back to Chang or Krajicek, Sampras and the others, if you were outside the top 10, if you could step your game up a notch, you felt like you had a chance. Now, these players today, the top 4, are more physical than I’ve ever seen. Djokovic had problems with his serve. He solved that problem. (Today’s Top 4) are the best movers and the best returners, too. We’re very lucky to be in this era.
On the hindrance rule of which Serena Williams fell afoul in last year’s US Open and Mardy Fish violated at Indian Wells before retiring to Matthew Ebden:
MJF: If you say “C’mon!” before the point is over, that’s hindrance. I think it was a good call on Serena at the US Open.
DC: The rule is quite simple. The point is awarded to the other player. Even if you smash a point and yell ‘come on’ before the second bounce. There needs to be a little more common sense in interpreting the rule. That was pretty rough that Mardy lost that point.
After declaring that Nick Bollettieri should definitely be in the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Cahill opined to Tennis Maryland on the difficulties of a younger coach coming along in the style that Bollettieri or Braden did.
The question of putting together a tennis academy is much tougher than it once was. The elite juniors of the world and their associations hire away good coaches. But the best coaches in the world are the ones whose names we don’t know. They’re the ones on court with the 8-to-12 year olds day in and day out.
Cardiac Kid Christina McHale Barely Fails to Repeat as Quarter Finalist at Indian Wells; Hampton Retires #bnppo12
What a day of ups and downs for the USA WTA contingent. The sole surviving American interests in the women’s part of the BNP Paribas Open faced significant drama and yes, ’swings’ of all kinds.
First, Jamie Hampton, the New South’s new tennis darling (after ignominious hard times for Melanie Oudin), had placed #5 Agnieszka Radwanska in a difficult spot. After giving away the first set, Hampton rallied to win the second in the breaker and clearly had the momentum. Then, Hampton gave way and retired in the third set, yet another victim of the Infamous Indian Well Water Bug.
But the toughest news of today is that Christina McHale, our Mid-Atlantic sister, lost in dramatic style against 2011 US Open Semi-finalist Angelique Kerber of Germany. It was another topsy-turvy match for McHale, who won a comeback three-setter on Sunday against 2011 Wimbledon Champion Petra Kvitova. Today’s final score of 3-6, 6-3, 6-7(4) was even a tighter loss than the tight win McHale notched against Kvitova. McHale and her Navy failed to sail forward to face the winner of Kirilenko/Petrova, who play later tonight. Kerber will face that winner. But tonight, it was McHale who showed an aura of grit and determination about her that suggests that she will do much greater things in her career than simply getting back to a second straight Quarterfinal in Indian Wells.
Though Roger Federer has 602 times the career earnings of Denis Kudla, it didn’t stop Kudla from playing a good first set against the Greatest of All Time last night in Indian Wells, California. Though Fed took the match 6-4, 6-1, Kudla gained valuable experience points on a Stadium Court in prime-time play under the lights against a crowd favorite.
Tennis Channel analyst (and doubles specialist) Ashley Fisher remarked during the match that Kudla ought to be ”encouraged by his play. He broke Roger Federer in the first set and held his own on the big stage, on the second-biggest court in the world. He started to find his range.”
In Federer’s post-match interview, he said “I didn’t know Kudla very much, at all actually”.
In other Mid-Atlantic news, Christina McHale launched a dramatic and successful comeback against 2011 Wimbledon Champion Petra Kvitova 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 to join fellow American Jamie Hampton in the Round of 16. McHale will face Angelique Kerber for a trip the quarterfinals and Hampton will square off against Agnieszka Radwanska.
The first matches of the day are just wrapping up at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, and it can already be declared a banner day for USA tennis. Two American women have cruised through to the third round. World #99 Jamie Hampton upset #14 Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 6-3 for the Alabama native’s first victory over a top-15 opponent. Christina McHale also took care of business against Elena Vesnina 6-3, 7-5.
On a local note, Denis Kudla finished off a nice comeback against Tobias Kamke moments ago, 2-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4 in a match where it seemed neither player had the will to win at times. This was a rematch from their last meeting in Memphis, and a much closer result than in Kudla’s victory over Kamke in the Volunteer State. If you’re wondering what took them so long to decide the winner of the match, now you know. Kudla not only won the match, but he also won the right to play the greatest of all time, Roger Federer, in the next round.
Americans Sloane Stephens and Vania King play later tonight.