Murray Topples Ferrer for Miami Masters Title
Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
Andy Murray did one win better than last year in Miami, toppling David Ferrer 2-6 6-4 7-6 to win his 9th Masters 1000 and 2nd ATP Miami title in a grueling final. He also moves to number 2 in the ATP rankings.
Murray got whitewashed by Ferrer in the opening set, failing to compete at all for the first 4 games of the match,and then double faulting a couple of games later to give Ferrer the set. He woke up in the 2nd, breaking early and competing with Ferrer at an equal to superior level and eventually doing enough to take it.
In the 3rd they went back and forth, trading breaks as both were poor on serve and then Murray failed to serve the match out. He later gave Ferrer a championship point at 5-6 but Ferrer stopped to challenge the line call, lost the challenge, and thus lost the point with Murray holding to force a final tiebreak. In the tiebreak, Murray got ahead early and Ferrer basically fell apart with Murray winning a nail biter of a final set to take the title. Though the quality of the match itself was not that great, there were a few excellent rallies and the error counts kept mounting for both players as they trudged along in the heat and humidity of daytime Miami.
The Miami event was characterized by upsets and attrition in general this year as Murray beat Bernard Tomic, Grigor Dimitrov, Andreas Seppi, Marin Cilic and Richard Gasquet to reach the final, only dropping a set to Gasquet. Murray was a bit of a slow starter in all his matches. Ferrer, who will be 31 this week, got a 2nd round walkover then beat Fabio Fognini, Kei Nishikori, Jurgen Melzer and Tommy Haas. The latter couple of matches both went 3 sets and Melzer and Haas, a couple of crafty veterans who made surprise runs this week, competed with Ferrer strongly before eventually wearing down.
Tommy Haas, at 34, has to be the feel good story of the week as he beat Igor Sijsling and Alex Dolgopolov then utterly shocked Novak Djokovic in an easy, dominant, straight sets and followed it up by a crushing victory over Gilles Simon to make the semis. Haas may well be a top 10 player by the end of the clay court season.
Semifinalist Gasquet beat Nicolas Almagro and Tomas Berdych in consecutive rounds to reach the semis and in one other big upset this week, German Tobias Kamke beat a listless and slow Juan Martin Del Potro in the 2nd round.
In the doubles, Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and Jean-Julien Rojer beat Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski.
On one other note of interest, Miami also had a bit of questionable umpiring in matches between John Isner and Ivan Dodig and Melzer and Kamke.
The Melzer-Kamke time violation video is below. As for the match between Isner and Dodig, deep in the 3rd set of a competitive match, Dodig hit a serve that Isner did not return. Dodig challenged and the ball was ruled in, but instead of awarding him the point, he was forced to replay the point. Dodig failed to serve the match out and got frustrated, with Isner eventually winning the match in a 3rd set tiebreak.
Dynamic Djokovic Makes It 3 In A Row At AO
Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
Novak Djokovic gave a warrior’s performance in a 4 set victory over Andy Murray, 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, 6-2 to repeat as Australian Open champion and capture his 4th AO title overall.
Djokovic and Murray played 2 tight tiebreak sets with no breaks of serve, even though Djokovic had 5 break chances in the opening set which were all saved by Murray. Murray had 3 break point chances of his own in the 2ndset, all saved by Djokovic.
Murray struggled with his 1st serve in the opening set, but played much stronger in the 2nd up until the tiebreak. Momentum shifted after the 2nd set breaker was taken by Djokovic. Murray, who by then was struggling with a foot blister among other ailments, continued to play his heart out but began to fade getting broken midway in the 3rd set and the 4th.
It was a bit of a bland match, but had some excellent rallying. If you are a Djokovic fan, it was rewarding match.
Djokovic had to survive a tremendous, match-of-his-life performance by Stanislas Wawrinka in the round of 16 (winning 1-6 7-5 6-4 6-7 12-10) in 5 hours plus after a listless start and some tremendous hitting by Wawrinka. The Serbian then recovered quickly beyond expectations to roll past Tomas Berdych in 4 sets and David Ferrer in straights. Those wins were particularly top notch showings.
It was at times a struggle for Novak, but he continues to show why he is world number one and must be truly regarded as the best player in the world right now. Whether he is listless or firing on all cylinders, he still finds a way to win.
Murray had an easy march to the semifinals, beating an exhausted Gilles Simon, and a surprising Jeremy Chardy in straights, before gutting out his first career best of 5 win over Roger Federer. Murray split sets with the The Great One through 4 and then put Fed away in the 5th with confident serving and quality defensive retrieval.
Murray drops to 0-3 in AO finals and remains with just the one major win. This final was a rematch of their 5 set semifinal at last year’s AO, won by Djokovic, and a rematch of the US Open final, won by Murray.
In the men’s doubles, the Bryan Brothers won a record 13thgrand slam title over the unseeded team of Dutchmen Robin Haase and Igor Sijsling and continue to dominate.
In the mixed doubles, a special tip of the cap to a TEC favorite and one of the nicest guys on the tour, Matt Ebden, who won the title with his Aussie partner Jarmila Gajdosova and claimed one for the home country.
2013 Australian Open Week 2 Men’s Preview
Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
The first week of the first slam of the year is in the books, and while I will admit it has not been quite as memorable of an opening week as previous years, it still packed a punch and had some very big, exciting moments. Of the 16 players remaining in the draw, seven of the top eight seeds remain. However, all of the Americans and home favorite Australians have been eliminated.
As for matches of the opening week, for the sake of quality it would have to be Gael Monfils’ first round clash with Alexandr Dolgopolov that went four sets. The thriller was full of absolutely epic shot making from both guys, and some stellar ace serving from Monfils.
And for the sake of length, unsurprisingly Monfils was also involved in an intense five hour, past midnight, 5 setter with countryman Gilles Simon. There, both players were injured throughout, with cramping, hand blisters, gimpy legs and sore arms with both mentally pushing on.
Simon won the first two sets only to drop two straight after injury issues. They then battled in the fifth with Monfils getting broken twice, only to break back once. Simon managed to serve it out 8-6 in the fifth. Did I mention that Simon was basically rolling his serves in there at 80 mph or less for the final couple sets of the match, yet Monfils couldn’t do that much with it? For the kicker, the average rally length in this match was easily 30 shots or more, and 40+ shot rallies were par for the course, though the pace of the match adjusted with the fatigue of both players. Simon was quoted as saying after the match “I was almost dying at the end of the second set”… and they played three more intense sets after.
Also challenging for the length category was a second round clash between Blaz Kavic and James Duckworth in the searing 100+ degree Melbourne heat for five hours. They could barely stand in the end as the fans urged them both on, and Kavic finally prevailed. He later tweeted a picture of himself flat on a stretcher in the locker room getting an IV. It was that intense. Duckworth, meanwhile, had played a five setter in the previous round and I’m sure set some sort of two round time record.
Also, extra special credit and respect to both Simon and Kavic for staying around to interact with fans and sign autographs after those matches. Quite an amazing gesture in and of itself.
Here is a breakdown of the eight round of 16 matchups.
(1) Novak Djokovic vs. (15) Stanislas Wawrinka
Novak has rolled through his first three opponents, Paul Henri-Mathieu, Ryan Harrison and Radek Stepanek, eliminating them all in straights, even though none of them played that poorly. He appears poised to continue his winning ways against Wawrinka, who beat Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, Tobias Kamke and Sam Querrey all in straights to advance.
The fourth round is a good result for Stan the Man, but this is likely the end of his road in Melbourne as he has has lost to Djokovic 11 times in 13 meetings, and all of their meetings in the past 3 years.
As a note on Querrey’s second round opponent Brian Baker, one of the unfortunate incidents to come out AO this week is his tore meniscus in his knee and Baker will be out 4 months at a minimum. It’s a real shame to see a guy who has already been through so much suffer further injuries, and furthermore, it erases his chance to rack up basically free ranking points in the part of the year he didn’t play at the ATP level last year. Just a sad story all around and hopefully he can recover.
Kevin Anderson vs. (5) Tomas Berdych
This will be a battle of the big guys with some big weapons. The seemingly resurgent Anderson beat Paolo Lorenzi in four, Andrey Kuznetsov (who notched the opening round win over Juan Monaco) in straights, and gutted out a tough five set victory against Fernando Verdasco. Anderson has relied on his serve and his forehand to carry him through.
Berdych overcame some early year jitters to get past Michael Russell, Guillaume Rufin and Jurgen Melzer in straights, but Anderson should be a much tougher customer than his first three opponents.
This match could easily go five sets given the style of play, but I’ll still give the slight edge to advance to Anderson, the first South African man to reach the round of 16 in a major in 10 years. Berdych beat Anderson four times last year, including at last year’s Australian Open, but new trends have to start somewhere.
(4) David Ferrer vs. (16) Kei Nishikori
David Ferrer has looked lights out in his first three matches: a win over Olivier Rochus in straights, a four set win over an otherwise determined Tim Smyczek (who deserves a lot of credit for making a match of it after a slow start), and a surprising straight sets crushing of Marcos Baghdatis.
Nishikori has overcome any worries about his knee to record wins over Victor Hanescu in four, Carlos Berlocq in straights, and Evgeny Donskoy in straights. The developing Donskoy may have performed a changing of the guard in Russian tennis in the previous round after a solid five set win over the top ranked Russian male Mikhail Youzhny.
Really not much to say about the performance of either guy here so far, except that both are playing well, and Ferrer will be the favorite and should advance, even though he does hold a losing head to head record to the top man from Japan.
(10) Nicolas Almagro vs. (8) Janko Tipsarevic
Nico Almagro is looking strong after recording wins over Daniel Gimeno-Traver and Jerzy Janowicz in straights, and after winning his first round encounter with Steve Johnson in four sets. Tipsarevic gutted out a straight sets win over Lleyton Hewitt in surviving a barrage of shot making efforts. Next, he lost a two set lead against Lukas Lacko only to come back and win it in the fifth. To make the round of 16, Tipsy beat Julien Benneteau in five by winning the last two sets.
Tipsarevic has done his best to make his matches memorable but hopefully hasn’t worn himself down for what could be a ripping slugfest with Almagro. He was quoted as saying after his match with Benneteau “”Long matches can affect my physical condition”, and with that being true, I give the slight edge to Almagro here.
Jeremy Chardy vs. (21) Andreas Seppi
Jeremy Chardy pulled off the shock of the tournament and the upset of his career so far when he defeated Juan Martin Del Potro in five sets to reach the round of 16. Del Potro seemed disinterested through the first 2 sets, only to up his level just a bit in the third set and just barely edge past Chardy, who missed his chances to finish the Argentine off. Del Potro then took the fourth set and it appeared that this would be another case of a lower ranked player taking a lead in a five set match only to freeze up closing it out and fade late. The difference is a tired Chardy still stuck with it and didn’t fade, matching holds with Del Potro, who still couldn’t get his shots working effectively. Finally he broke Del Po and took the last set 6-3.
It was a very disappointing result for Del Potro, who had looked at ease in his first two matches. Chardy also beat Marcel Granollers in four sets in round after beating Adrian Menendez-Maceiras in the four set opener.
As for Seppi, he beat Horacio Zeballos in straights. Prior to that drubbing, he needed all five sets to get past both Denis Istomin and Marin Cilic, outlasting them with consistent play and breaks when he needed them.
This match is quite a lucky shot at the quarters for both guys, and Chardy will certainly be able to dictate with his serve. Meanwhile, Seppi might be a bit worn down. This match is an even proposition, but I’ll give a very slight edge to Seppi, who is normally the better player.
(14) Gilles Simon vs. (3) Andy Murray
I already mentioned Simon’s heroics, and he also beat Filippo Volandri and Jesse Levine in four after dropping the opening set. The problem is, he is the walking wounded for this match against Murray, who rolled over Robin Haase and Joao Sousa in straights. Muzz overcame frustration to get past the tricky Ricardas Berankis in straights, though the scoreline is a bit misleading in that one in that Berankis had a ton of chances to get in the match and take the lead, but failed to convert, while the more experienced Murray was able to serve just well enough to hang on.
Murray will be a clear favorite in this one, even against a rested and healthy Simon. Given that Simon is neither rested nor appears healthy, Simon’s odds are even worse.
(7) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. (9) Richard Gasquet
Tsonga beat Michael Llodra, Go Soeda and an exhausted Blaz Kavic all in straights, and is rolling, though not totally sharp. Compatriot Gasquet beat Albert Montanes and Alejandro Falla in straights, then came back from a set down to beat the scrappy Ivan Dodig, who Gasquet let push him around the court for a bit until Dodig ran out of energy. Dodig made the third round with a win over Jarkko Nieminen, who played an absolutely epic first round match with Tommy Haas, finally besting him.
This was the match most people were expecting and something to certainly look forward to seeing. Both guys are playing fine and I’ll stick with my original pick of going with Gasquet in an upset.
(13) Milos Raonic vs. (2) Roger Federer
Milos Raonic has gone under the radar this first week, winning matches over Jan Hajek and Lukas Rosol before dispatching Phillip Kohlschreiber, who hadn’t been broken on serve up until that match, in straights. Now he runs into the Big Red Machine Known As Roger Federer, who has been clinical in wins over Benoit Paire, Nikolay Davydenko, and Bernard Tomic. The Big Red Machine beating all of them in straights and is not messing around.
Federer is clicking here, and I expect Raonic to be yet another casualty on the Melbourne road.
As a note on Tomic, he played quite fine up until the Fed match, not losing his serve including in a tight four set victory over Daniel Brands, but Fed was just too good.
Djokovic d. Anderson
Ferrer d. Almagro
Murray d. Seppi
Federer d. Gasquet
Sticking with the top 4 here and I don’t see any of them having trouble.
Djokovic d. Ferrer
Murray d. Federer
Ferrer might trouble Djoker, but not enough to win. Federer/Murray, on the other hand, could be absolutely epic if both guys play at the top level. Fed has looked slightly better thus far, but I’ll still stick with my original call and say Murray gets through.
Djokovic d. Murray
Sticking with the original picks here as well.
2013 Australian Open Week 1 Men’s Preview
Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
January 14-January 27, 2013
It’s time again for my personal favorite slam, the happy slam, the thrilling, exhilarating, hyper intense Australian Open. It’s live with late night and early morning action from Melbourne park, and it’s a world away. It is the first slam of the year and every player is looking for a good result to set the mood for the season ahead. In the next two weeks, history and memories will be made once again and here is a preview of the men’s side of the action.
Top 8 seeds
1: Novak Djokovic
2: Roger Federer
3: Andy Murray
4: David Ferrer
5: Tomas Berdych
6: Juan Martin Del Potro
7: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
8: Janko Tipsarevic
The only players missing from the men’s top 50 are last year’s finalist Rafael Nadal, still seemingly rehabbing his knee injury and other related issues, Mardy Fish, who hasn’t played since the US Open last year, and John Isner, who also went out with a knee injury this month and withdrew earlier in the week, dealing a blow to American hopes.
1st round matchups to watch:
(1)Novak Djokovic vs. Paul Henri Mathieu
Djokovic should not have too much trouble out of the gate since he seems to be in good form, but the rejuvenated Frenchman PHM might have some tricks up his sleeve to give the world number one a test early on. While PHM hasn’t played any ATP matches this year he did take part in the Kooyong classic and pushed Del Potro to 3 sets and depending on his consistency, this could actually be a competitive match.
(11)Juan Monaco vs. Andrey Kuznetsov
Pico has to be on upset alert for this match against the 21-year-old Russian talent Kuznetsov, who has broken into the top 80 after playing mainly at the challenger level last year. Though he seems to prefer clay, Kuznetsov isn’t bad on hard courts either. Monaco has not played any tournament matches this year, as he has been dealing with a hand injury that forced him to pull out of Kooyong. While he seems to be over that now, a mixture of rust and surface creates the makings for an early upset.
David Goffin vs. (22) Fernando Verdasco
Struggling former AO semifinalist Verdasco hasn’t won a singles match in his preparation for the AO. He’ll get a tough test in the humble Belgian youngster Goffin who really isn’t in the best form himself. Goffin enters the AO with a 1-2 singles record after 2nd and 1st round losses in his prep events. Still, you have to think D Goff is playing a bit better than Nando at the moment.
Fabio Fognini vs. Roberto Bautista-Agut
Chennai finalist Bautista-Agut will look to keep his quality play going on the grand slam stage. He retired in Sydney with fatigue but should be well rested now to take on Foginini, who will be sure to throw all the shots he has at the Spaniard. This match will show if Bautista-Agut is primed to surprise in Melbourne.
Michael Russell vs. (5)Tomas Berdych
Veteran baseline grinder muscles Russell got a stroke of luck when he drew a seemingly out of form Berdych, who after being upset in Chennai, was pushed to 3 sets by Ivan Dodig in Kooyang, then lost to Lleyton Hewitt there. Berdych is the stronger player and should not have any trouble with Russell but he has suffered 1st round slam upsets before…
(32)Julien Benneteau vs. Grigor Dimitrov
Seeded Sydney semifinalist Benneteau got the misfortune of drawing one of the hottest unseeded players in the draw in the form of Dimitrov, who he lost to twice last year. The Brisbane finalist has all the talent to make a deep run in Melbourne. This should be a good match full of intrigue and while Dimitrov will be favored, Benny could still grab the win.
Lleyton Hewitt vs. (8) Janko Tipsarevic
Tenacious veteran counter-puncher Lleyton Hewitt no longer carries the hopes of Australia almost solely on his shoulders, since less is expected of him in the twilight of his career. He still can come up with some Melbourne magic now and again and he will need all the magic he can muster against top tenner Tipsarevic, who will be looking to improve upon his results in slams and is coming off the Chennai title. While Tipsarevic will certainly be favored, this should still be a fun and possibly very long match. Last year Hewitt was able to upset Milos Raonic and still seems as motivated as ever to win matches, as just this week he notched some upsets to reach the final of the Kooyong classic.
Grega Zemlja vs. (22) Marcel Granollers
The unseeded Zemlja will be looking to grab the upset against Spaniard Granollers, who though he prefers clay, did make the quarterfinals in Sydney this past week. This match could really go either way and could go 4 or 5 sets.
Gael Monfils vs. (18) Alexandr Dolgopolov
The talented but inconsistent Monfils will meet the talented but inconsistent Dolgo in the opening round for the first time in their careers. Dolgo is a former AO quarterfinalist coming off a quarterfinal in Brisbane while Monfils made the semis in Auckland but was easily bounced by David Ferrer. This match could go either way, in both result and number of sets and I could very easily see this one ending in a retirement, especially if it is a day match in the scorching Melbourne heat.
(25) Florian Mayer vs. (WC) Rhyne Williams
USTA WC winner Rhyne Williams also got good luck in the draw and will have a good chance at an upset against consistent German Mayer who is an even 2-2 in his pre AO tournaments and prefers clay over hard courts. At the US Open last year Mayer fell to another rising American in Jack Sock. Now Williams will look to repeat the feat and has the talent to do it.
(19)Tommy Haas vs. Jarkko Nieminen
Tommy Haas has had success at the AO in the past and returns to Melbourne as a top 25 player looking for a good run. Haas has a tough opening test against the flying fin Jarkko Nieminen, who is coming off a quarterfinal in Sydney, while Haas is coming off a quarterfinal in Auckland. Haas will be favored, but do not put it past Nieminen to get the win.
(2) Roger Federer vs. Benoit Paire
The tennis draw maestros did not do Fed any favors this time, as he will have to face the talented 23-year-old Paire, who is near a career high ranking just outside the top 40, in the opening round. Paire made the semis in Chennai and has an all court game, but the last time they met in Basel in 2012, Federer won easily in straight sets.
The defending AO champ Djokovic will face either Ryan Harrison or Santiago Giraldo after doing battle with Mathieu, then could meet an out of form Feliciano Lopez in the 3rd round. It’s a pretty easy early start for the Serbian superstar. Also in this section are the out of form Viktor Troicki and Radek Stepanek, one just struggling, and the other struggling with injuries. They will meet in the 1st round and the winner will play Lopez or a qualifier.
Auckland semi finalist and 25 seed Sam Querrey opens with a qualifier and then should get an intriguing matchup with fellow American Brian Baker, who upset Jerzy Janowicz in the 1st round of Auckland and seems to be playing competitively. The winner of that likely gets a match with 15 seed Stan Wawrinka who opens with a qualifier and then plays Tobias Kamke or Flavio Cipolla.
The winner of Monaco/Kuznetsov will likely face current Sydney finalist Kevin Anderson, who opens with Paolo Lorenzi. Whoever advances will get the winner of Verdasco/Goffin or Auckland quarterfinalist Xaiver Malisse, who opens with a slumping Pablo Andujar.
26 seed Jurgen Melzer opens with Mikhail Kukushkin and then will play the winner of Fognini/Bautista-Agut. In the 3rd round, whoever advances from that section should face Tomas Berdych if he gets through Russell and a qualifier or Guillaume Rufin.
Current Auckland finalist and former AO semi finalist David Ferrer will open with veteran mighty mite Olivier Rochus and then should get a polar opposite match against the veteran big man Ivo Karlovic (who opens with a qualifier). In the 3rd round, odds are he will face Brisbane semifinalist and a guy who does well in Melbourne, Marcos Baghdatis, who opens with a slumping Albert Ramos then the winner of John Millman vs. Tatsuma Ito.
16 seed and Brisbane semifinalist Kei Nishikori, who was dealing with injuries but seems recovered, opens with veteran Victor Hanescu then will meet Carlos Berlocq or a qualifier followed by 23 seed Mikhail Youzhny, who opens with Matt Ebden, then could meet countryman Evgeny Donskoy or Romanian Adrian Ungur.
10 seed Nico Almagro opens with a qualifier followed by the winner of Lukasz Kubot vs. Daniel Gimeno-Traver and then could face a test in the form of Jerzy Janowicz, who looks to recover from a 1st round loss in Auckland and will open with Italian Simone Bolleli, followed by the winner of Somdev Devvarman vs. Bjorn Phau.
The winner of Benneteau/Dimitrov will face Edouard Roger-Vasselin or a qualifier and then prepare for battle with Janko Tipsarevic, who after facing Hewitt, will take on the winner of Lukas Lacko, coming off a quarterfinal in Auckland against Gilles Muller.
Andy Murray, a semi finalist last year and twice a former AO finalist, will begin another Aussie open odyssey against Dutchman Robin Haase, who does not seem to be in great form. Then he’ll play the winner of Joao Sousa vs. Aussie J.P Smith, followed by a match with either the Mayer/Williams winner, Sergiy Stakhovsky, or a qualifier. Williams actually has a great shot at the 3rd round here.
Moving up the bracket, the Dolgopolov/Monfils winner will play the winner of Yen-Hsun Lu vs Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo, then in the 3rd round should meet 14 seed Gilles Simon, who retired during a match in Sydney and might be struggling a bit. Simon opens with Filippo Volandri, then will face the winner of Tommy Robredo vs. the newly minted Canadian Jesse Levine. Simon at least gets a pretty easy early go of things.
Juan Martin Del Potro looks to bring his big game to Melbourne starting off with a qualifier, followed by the dangerous Aljaz Bedene, who will open with veteran Benjamin Becker. After that, he could play the Zemlja/Granollers winner, Jeremy Chardy, or a qualifier.
Sydney semifinalist Andreas Seppi, the 21 seed, opens with Argentine Horacio Zeballos, then will face the winner of Sydney quarterfinalist Denis Istomin vs. sizzling Igor Sijsling. The winner will likely follow with a match with 12 seed Marin Cilic, who opens up with Aussie Marinko Matosevic, followed by the winner of Guillermo Garcia-Lopez vs. a qualifier. Seppi has a good chance at the 3rd round as Cilic isn’t playing his best tennis at the moment.
Federer, the 4 time Aussie open champ and semi-finalist last year, has a brutal early draw. After playing Paire he will get the dangerous veteran floater Nikolay Davydenko, who looked so strong previously en route to the Doha final. Davy will open with a qualifier. In the 3rd round, he may have to face home favorite and current Sydney finalist Bernard Tomic, who has realized a lot of his potential this month and is playing some of the best tennis of his young career in front of the home fans. Tomic opens with Leonardo Mayer and then Martin Klizan, the struggling 27 seed, or a qualifier.
Federer declined to play any tournament matches before the AO this year, and will be thrown right in the fire at the get go. He certainly can beat anyone when he is at his best, but any of his first 3 opponents could push him quite hard.
Elsewhere in this quarter, current Auckland finalist and 17 seed Phillip Kohlschreiber opens with Steve Darcis, then will face young Argentine Guido Pella or a qualifier. His possible 3rd round opponent, 13 seed Milos Raonic, who is really struggling this month (losing matches in both Brisbane and the Kooyong classic), opens with Jan Hajek, then a qualifier or fellow serve bomber Lukas Rosol.
9 seed and Doha champ Richard Gasquet will look to keep his momentum going opening with Spanish vet Albert Montanes followed by Alejandro Falla or wild card Josselin Ouanna. In the 3rd round, Gasquet should meet either the Haas/Nieminen winner or Ivan Dodig, an under the radar player who opens with Di Wu of China.
Former AO finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga begins with serve and volleying countryman Michael Llodra, followed by a match against Go Soeda or promising young Aussie Luke Saville. In the 3rd round, Tsonga could meet young Aussies James Duckworth or Ben Mitchell, who will play each other in the 1st round, Blaz Kavic, or 29 seed Thomaz Bellucci, who is talented but inconsistent. Tsonga should have an easy go of things the first few rounds.
Dark Horses (1 for each quarter of the draw): Kevin Anderson, Grigor Dimitrov, Andreas Seppi, Richard Gasquet
Anderson is playing and serving well and does well on hard courts. He gets a very reasonable early draw with Lorenzi, Monaco (who is seeded but not in great shape), then Malisse or Goffin. In the 4th round he will get Berdych or Bautista-Agut, both of whom are beatable and he has a great shot at the quarters, where he will likely run into Djokovic and run out of wins.
Dimitrov is skillful and playing great and assuming he dispatches Benneteau, Roger-Vasselin or a qualifier, he should set up a meeting with Tipsarevic. Tipsarevic will be favored in that one but it isn’t unreasonable that Grisha can pull it off and then beat likely opponent Almagro before running into Ferrer in the quarters. Dimitrov could go out somewhere between the 3rd round and the semis, but either way, he has a lot of upside.
Seppi is seasoned and consistent and has the advantage of a good draw. Assuming he doesn’t trip up against Istomin, he will have the advantage over Cilic but will likely go out in the 4th round at the hands of Del Potro.
Gasquet honestly got a bit lucky in Doha as he fell behind in multiple matches and his tactical play remains questionable, but he still has confidence from it and should be able to get through Montanes, Falla, and Haas, though that latter match will likely be a battle. In the 4th round, while Tsonga will be favored, Gasquet will still have a tremendous opportunity to notch the upset and make the quarterfinals. There he would likely face Federer, unless by some chance an even vaguer dark horse like Tomic, Kohlschreiber or Davydenko were to shock the tennis world and beat him.
Week 1 Predictions (4th round matchups)
Djokovic d. Querrey
Djokovic beat Querrey multiple times in 2012 and the result shouldn’t be any different this time.
Anderson d. Bautista-Agut
Bautista-Agut just beat Berdych in Chennai, and I think he can do it once again to set up this 4th round matchup, but I don’t think he is quite ready for the big time yet. Anderson should edge by.
Ferrer d. Nishikori
Tipsarevic d. Almagro
Del Potro d. Seppi
Murray d. Dolgopolov
Murray has beaten Dolgopolov 4 straight times, including a 4 set victory at the 2011 Aussie Open and a win at the 2012 Brisbane final.
Tsonga d. Gasquet
Federer d. Kohlschreiber
Djokovic d. Anderson
Ferrer d. Tipsarevic
This could be another 5 set ball striking slugfest just like their 2012 US Open quarterfinal matchup.
Murray d. Del Potro
This match could be tight and Del Potro will certainly have his chances.
Federer d. Tsonga
Another chance for Federer to trip up, but he should eke through.
Djokovic d. Ferrer
Ferrer is good, but never has been at the level to trip up the big 3.
Murray d. Federer
With a mix of Murray’s motivation, less stress after finally winning a slam and Federer’s fatigue from a brutal draw, edge goes to Murray here.
Djokovic d. Murray
As much as I personally want to pick Murray, I have to go with Djokovic, who continues to consistently get the job done and hasn’t shown any signs he is not poised to win another AO title. Djokovic beat Murray in a thrilling 2012 AO semi and I expect this match to be just as entertaining if it occurs. On the other hand, Murray did beat Djokovic to win the US Open last year, but it took him 5 sets to do it and Djokovic seemed a bit out of sorts the whole time.
Murray Retains Brisbane, Tipsarevic Gets Over Hump in Chennai
Andy Murray was able to just slightly outmatch a skillful Grigor Dimitrov and retain the ATP Brisbane title in exciting fashion 7-6, 6-4, in a match closer than the scoreline would indicate.
Early on, it was clear the youngster Dimitrov had come to play as he was firing on all cylinders to a aggressive 3-0 1st set lead. Murray woke up a bit, though, and they preceded to trade holds through the first set until finally Dimitrov was serving for the opening set at 5-3. He failed to get the hold though as he finally showed cracks in his game. After Murray eked out a tough hold in the next game, they traded holds until the tiebreak in which Dimitrov’s game collapsed and Murray won without conceding a point.
In the 2nd set Dimitrov didn’t completely fade though, and in fact, continued to hold off of his powerful serve and hit the occasional nice winner on Murray, who was finally playing a bit more aggressive than he had in the 1st set. The experience of Murray came into play yet again though as he broke at the end of the set and took the match.
Even though he fell short in the final, Dimitrov finally capitalized on his talent and unique playstyle to make his first career ATP final. He did so by beating Brian Baker, upsetting 2 seed Milos Raonic, notching a win over 7 seed Jurgen Melzer in the quarters in straights, and coming back from a set down against the crafty Marcos Baghdatis in the semis 3-6, 7-5, 7-6. Baghdatis had beaten seeded players Gilles Simon and Florian Mayer to make the semis, both in straights.
Murray, for his part, wasn’t exactly lights out the whole tournament. He did get the job done, beating John Millman in 3 sets, Denis Istomin in straights and winning a set off a slightly injured Kei Nishikori before Nishikori was forced to retire early in the 2nd set. Nishikori had played a quite competitive match with Alexandr Dolgopolov in the quarterfinals, in which both guys played like flying darts around the court.
In the doubles, the unseeded Marcel Mello and Tommy Robredo beat Paul Hanley and Eric Butorac for the title.
Last year’s runner up Janko Tipsarevic got over the hump this time and beat surprise finalist Roberto Bautista-Agut of Spain 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 to capture the Chennai final, in which the first set was competitive and in the latter sets the experience of Tipsarevic came into play.
Tipsy had previously gotten through Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Go Soeda in straights and then worked past surprise semi-finalist Aljaz Bedene 4-6, 6-2, 6-2. Bedene had upset Stan Wawrinka in the previous round.
For the usual challenger player Bautista-Agut, who will be at a career high ranking beyond the top 75 when the new ATP rankings come out, he reached his first career ATP final at the age of 24 and vastly improved upon his 3-10 record at the ATP level in 2012. He did win three challengers last year and qualified for the Aussie open.
To get to the Chennai final, he ripped through Blaz Kavic and Matthias Bachinger in straights, shocked top seed Tomas Berdych in 3 sets and then beat Benoit Paire in 3 sets to make the final. Paire had beaten Marin Cilic in 3 sets in the quarterfinals.
In the doubles, best friends Wawrinka and Paire rolled over the German pair of Andre Begemann and Martin Emmrich for the title.
Djokovic Wins Second Straight Title, Earns China Double
Novak Djokovic won his second straight ATP title in Shanghai and his third masters title of the year with a hard-won 5-7, 7-6, 6-3 victory over Andy Murray in which he saved five match points and came back from a set down. By virtue of winning Beijing the previous week, Novak gets the honor of having won both ATP events in China this year.
Previously in the week, he rolled through Grigor Dimitrov, Feliciano Lopez, Tommy Haas and Tomas Berdych all in straights, while Murray got a walkover against Florian Mayer, beat Alexandr Dolgopolov in straights, Radek Stepanek in three, and Roger Federer in straights to make the final.
Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek took the doubles title over Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna.
In other North American tennis news, on the USTA pro circuit in Tiburon, Florida, Jack Sock won his first Challenger, beating Zverev. James Blake beat Zverev for the title in Sacramento, California last week.
The Spirit of 76: Andy Murray Writes a New Chapter in British Tennis History
Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
It had been 76 years since a British man had won a slam, but in his fifth try, Andy Murray broke the streak and booked his place in the history books with a 7-6, 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2 victory over Novak Djokovic in another intense Monday final. Murray fans like me have been waiting a long time for him to do it and he finally did.
Murray and Djokovic struggled with the whipping winds early and traded breaks of serve in the 1st, pushing it all the way to a tie break where Murray needed more than a hands worth of set points to close out the set. He finally converted. In the 2nd, Murray roared to a double break lead over an irritated Djokovic, but Novak would storm back to 5 all before Murray broke and took a 2 set lead.
The momentum would quickly turn though, and Murray struggled to keep up with an awakened and beastly Djokovic. Murray was broken and wasted break back chances in both the 3rd and 4th sets to allow Djokovic to knot the match up and send it to a deciding set. Hope looked to be in short supply for the Scottish warrior. It looked like it would be another torturous choke for Murray.
Then the momentum would snap back and Murray would find his legs and his second wind, refusing to bow to Djokovic. He broke to open the 5th out of nowhere, getting a second break and then holding serve all the way to 5-2. It was there that he served for history against an exhausted Djokovic, who called the trainer out before the final game. Djokovic hit a return long at 40-15 and Murray finally got his US Open title after 4 hours and 54 minutes of play. Murray most certainly earned this title with intense, tenacious, emotional tennis playing amazing defense and body blows of groundstrokes with his skillful counterpunching style. Djokovic has to be credited for fighting back and nearly pulling off the comeback, but Murray had his mind locked in in this match.
Murray is the new world number 3 and started the summer with a run to the Wimbledon finals, finished it with his first Grand Slam title at the US Open, and grabbed an Olympic gold medal in between, making his devoted fans and the nation of Great Britain immensely proud and excited the whole way. For what it’s worth, he also struggled in the 2 masters events he played over the summer but brought a 5th gear to his game at the US Open.
Previously in the week, he had worked past Milos Raonic in straights, Marin Cilic in 4 sets and surprise semi-finalist Tomas Berdych, who shocked Roger Federer in 4 sets in the quarters. He beat Berdych in 4, who struggled with the windy conditions.
Djokovic, who was defending his US Open title last year, beat Stan Wawrinka and Juan Martin Del Potro in straights then beat David Ferrer in 4 in a match where they played nearly a set on Saturday and the rest of the match on Sunday due to the stormy weather conditions. Ferrer had previously beaten Janko Tipsarevic in a 5 set grinding slugfest in the quarterfinals.
The Bryans took yet another doubles title and the “Big 4”ATP players all won a slam this year with Djokovic triumphing in Melbourne, Nadal in Paris, Federer in London and Murray in New York. This was a very fitting result for all. The ATP tour will now begin winding down for the year with the Asian swing and fall indoor events in Europe, but the top tennis players in the world will keep going and going.
2012 US Open Week 2 Men’s Preview
Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
An exciting week of high intensity tennis has finished up at the final slam of the year and it is time for the business end of the tournament with just 16 men left vying for the title. The top four seeds have all generally advanced with ease, but the big story is Andy Roddick, who announced he will retire from Tennis after the Open in a impromptu press conference the day before his 2nd round match.
Roddick has made it to the round of 16 and will play Del Potro Tuesday, so he will carry the torch of American tennis at least a few hours longer.
Here is a breakdown of the eight round of 16 match ups.
Roger Federer vs. Mardy Fish
Federer is looking sharp and rolled in straights over Donald Young and Bjorn Phau, then dispatched Fernando Verdasco in the same fashion in what was a disappointing performance from Fernando. Fish beat Go Soeda in straights, came back from 2 sets down to defeat Nikolay Davydenko, who ran out of gas the last 3 sets, and thumped Gilles Simon in 4 sets.
Fish will likely have the crowd behind him in this match, but that is about the only thing going for him as Federer looks confident and cunning and should get another solid win.
Nicolas Almagro vs. Tomas Berdych
Nico and TBerd will meet again for the 4th time this year and they have a habit of being irritants to one another going back to this year’s Australian Open.
Almagro beat a Statue-of-Liberty-shirt-sporting Radek Stepanek in 4, Phillip Petzschner in 5 long heavy ball striking sets and young American Jack Sock, who did well to reach the 3rd round, in 4 sets. Berdych beat David Goffin and Jurgen Zopp in straights, then got past Sam Querrey in 4 after dropping the 1st set.
This match leans Berdych as he has had an easier time so far but Almagro may be able to snatch a win.
Andy Murray vs. Milos Raonic
Milos Raonic survived a 1st round 5 setter against Santiago Giraldo, then beat Paul-Henri Mathieu and James Blake in straights. Blake had previously turned back the clock and dispatched Marcel Granollers in the 2nd round. Murray overcame a slow start to beat Alex Bogomolov in straights, then dispatched Ivan Dodig and needed 4 grueling sets and 3 tiebreaks to get past Feliciano Lopez, who threw everything he had into their 3rd round encounter on a hot Saturday afternoon.
This is an interesting match-up as Murray as struggled with his serve in his first 3 matches, while Raonic serves so well most of the time it could be close and possibly be a long match if Raonic is serving well and Murray isn’t.
Marin Cilic vs. Martin Klizan
Cilic won two 5 setters against Marinko Matosevic and Daniel Brands in the first 2 rounds, then got past Kei Nishikori in 4 sets in what was a bit of a surprising match. Klizan, probably the most unheralded name left in the draw, made his way by beating Alejandro Falla in straights then scored the biggest win of his promising career in 4 sets against 5 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who simply appeared wilted and worn out and could not get his game nor his shots together. Klizan kept his composure and his game together in gutting out the massive win. He followed that up by beating Jeremy Chardy in straights, making it look easy out there and proving he belongs.
Cilic will be a favorite here but the 23-year-old lefty Klizan, who will break into the top 50 after his run here is said and done, has the talent to get yet another upset. This could honestly go either way.
Janko Tipsarevic vs. Phillip Kohlschreiber
Tipsarevic survived an upset scare in the 1st round, clawing back from 2 sets down to defeat Guillaume Rufin in 5. He then took out Brian Baker and Grega Zemlja in straights. Peppo Kohlschreiber beat Michael Llodra in 4, won a testy 5 setter with Benoit Paire in which both players simply did not like each other and then upset John Isner in a late night 5 setter. It was a disappointing result from Isner, who had given his previous opponents Xaiver Malisse and Jarkko Nieminen their chances, winning both matches in 4 sets and it finally caught up to him against Kohlschreiber, who earned a well-deserved win.
Tipsarevic will be the favorite and you have to wonder if two 5 set battles in a row will take it out of Kohlschreiber, but it should be a fun match stylistically-speaking.
David Ferrer vs. Richard Gasquet
Ferrer beat Kevin Anderson and Igor Sijsling in straights, then played 4 gladiator sets of tennis with Lleyton Hewitt in which two of the greatest grinding road runners in the game were both trying to outwit, outhit and outrun one another. The 1st and 2nd sets were great but then Ferrer pulled away over an exasperated Hewitt, who had played a 5 setter with Gilles Muller the previous round. It was Hewitt’s 25th career 5 setter.
Gasquet beat Albert Montanes in 4, then Americans Bradley Klahn and Steve Johnson in straights to advance. Klahn had played a crowd fueled 5 setter against Jurgen Melzer in the 1st round, notching the upset, while Johnson knocked off Ernests Gulbis in the 2nd round (who had come back from 2 sets down and beaten Tommy Haas in the opening round).
Ferrer is a favorite against Gasquet, but both guys have a great shot at the quarterfinals in this match up that will be the grit and substance of Ferrer vs. the style and flash of Gasquet.
Juan Martin Del Potro vs. Andy Roddick
Former US Open champion Del Potro will try to send Roddick into retirement Tuesday night on Ashe. So far he has beaten lucky loser Florent Serra in straights (who replaced David Nalbandian who withdrew with injury), Ryan Harrison in 4 and countryman Leonardo Mayer in straights in what was a very close match between friends. Roddick has kept his career alive dispatching Rhyne Williams and Bernard Tomic in straights and then scoring a 4 set win over Fabio Fognini, who was simply too inconsistent to capitalize on the chances he had.
The road for Roddick likely ends here as Del Po has played strong and his wrist has looked fine in the 3 matches he has played. Barring some magic from Roddick or Del Potro coming out flat, this could be Andy’s curtain call.
Stanislas Wawrinka vs. Novak Djokovic
Wawrinka has struggled to shut the door in the 3 matches he has played, beating Sergiy Stakhovsky in 4, Steve Darcis in 5 intriguing sets (in which Darcis was hurting for most of the final 2 sets but still managed to get the 5th to 7-5) and Alexandr Dologopolov, who he beat in straights but not without struggling to convert break points. Dolgo beat Baghdatis in the previous round in what was an exciting display of baseline rallies and aggressive tennis. Djokovic, on the other hand, has shown no weakness and has only dropped 15 games in 9 sets of tennis. He beat up on Paolo Lorenzi, Rogerio Dutra Silva and Julien Benneteau. Benneteau had previously beaten surprising American Dennis Novikov in 4.
Djokovic will be a heavy favorite against Wawrinka and should calmly notch another victory.
Federer d. Berdych
Murray d. Cilic
Tipsarevic d. Ferrer
Djokovic d. Del Potro
Any of these matches could easily go 5 sets.
Federer d. Murray
Djokovic d. Tipsarevic
Federer d. Djokovic
Magic Murray is Golden in London, Del Po takes Bronze
Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
Andy Murray earned the biggest win of his career over Roger Federer 6-2, 6-1, 6-4, in the Olympic final on home turf at Wimbledon to earn the much deserved gold medal in an emotional victory. The raucous crowd urged their man on in their home Olympic games as he delivered a confident, methodical and smashing win over the man many have called the king of grass, avenging his loss in the Wimbledon final one month ago.
Murray broke twice in the first set and the second break closed the set out at 6-2. Then, he proceeded to roll an entire set of games in a row on Federer in the second. The key breakthrough came as Federer was unable to break Murray during a very long game early in the second set. In the third, the tennis was a bit more closely matched, but it was Murray who was top class, breaking midway through the third and then proceeding to confidently serve it out. He closed out the match with three smashing aces that Federer couldn’t answer.
Murray’s play was at his highest level. He was moving well, volleying brilliantly, including some extremely nifty flick volleys, and hitting from the baseline with excellence. While he did not serve the highest percentage, he got the aces when he needed them and managed to stave off any break points Federer received.
It was quite a different Roger Federer from the one who beat Murray in four sets just one month ago at Wimbledon on the grass. One has to wonder if his marathon match against Juan Martin Del Potro in the semis took something out of him, but either way his play was stuck in third gear most of the match with too many errors and a failure to capitalize on the chances he did have.
For Federer, it is a tough loss and a big blow to him as he was gunning hard for an Olympic gold in singles, one of the few accomplishments he has not achieved in his career and something that clearly meant a lot to him. Even in defeat, he remained sportsmanlike and still gets a well-deserved silver medal.
As for “Magic Murray”, he gets a much needed confidence boost and hopefully relieves a great deal of pressure. Even though the Olympics isn’t a grand slam event, the quality of the field and the tennis he had to play to win Gold was very similar, as was the feeling around the importance of the event. He will have a chance at the US Open and beyond as he got past his rivals Federer and Djokovic. You really have to hand it to the British crowd for pulling him and Team Great Britain through in the home Olympics.
In order to make the final, Federer beat Alejandro Falla in three tough sets, Julien Benneteau (who didn’t trouble him this time like he did at Wimbledon), Denis Istomin, last American standing John Isner, and Del Potro in a marathon match 3-6, 7-6, 19-17. Both Del Potro and Federer had chances to win in the third set, and Federer choked away a lot of break points but finally converted and managed to pull it off. After his victory over Del Potro, Federer was choked up during his post match interview while Del Potro walked off the court amid tears and apparently cried for many hours more.
Murray beat Stan Wawrinka, Jarkko Nieminen, Marcos Baghdatis, Nicolas Almagro and confidently handled Novak Djokovic 7-5, 7-5 to make the final. Murray dueled serves with Djokovic and broke him at the end of both sets to win. Both guys played some skillful tennis and expended a lot of energy in the semi.
In the bronze match, Juan Martin Del Potro took it over Novak Djokovic 7-5, 6-4. Showing little signs of fatigue or depression after playing two long matches the day before, including a 19-17 third set loss to Federer in the singles semi. At four hours and change, it was a record setting match in length. Del Potro’s victory assured that there has been a medalist from South America in men’s singles the past three Olympic Games.
Djokovic will certainly be disappointed after two tough losses back to back and failing to repeat as bronze medalist, but he still did well to make it as far as he did. Djokovic also survived a third round test against the tenacious Lleyton Hewitt, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1. Hewitt nearly knocked him off and turned back the clock.
In the men’s doubles, the Bryan Brothers took the gold and completed the career slam over the exciting Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Michael Llodra, who took silver. Another French team of Julien Benneteau and Richard Gasquet took the bronze medal over David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez. Tsonga played a lot of tennis himself, including a 25-23 third set win over Milos Raonic in singles, the second most games in a set behind the epic Isner-Mahut match at Wimbledon a couple of years back.
The two French teams produced plenty of flair in the 2012 Olympics and their winning celebrations were quite a thing to behold as were many of their shots. http://morganemoulin.tumblr.com/post/28693623174/jo-wilfried-tsonga-and-michael-llodra (Tsonga/Llodra celebration)
Lastly, in mixed doubles, Murray and his partner, the young and talented 18-year-old British player, Laura Robson, fell in a tight match to Belarusians Max Mirnyi and Vika Azarenka, who were thrilled with their gold medal. Azarenka also won the bronze in women’s singles, while Mirnyi was the flag bearer for Belarus and played in what he says will be his final Olympics. It is worth noting that the team of Murray/Robson was a mixed doubles wild card while Mirnyi/Azeranka were the top seeds, so it was a good result for both teams. Americans Mike Bryan and Lisa Raymond took the bronze over Germans Christopher Kas and Sabine Lisicki.
Murray (gold and silver), Mike Bryan (gold and bronze), Serena Williams (singles gold and ladies doubles gold) and Azarenka (gold and bronze) all walked away with more than one medal in the Olympic tennis event.
2012 ATP Toronto Rogers Cup Preview
Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
The first hard court masters event of the summer, the Rogers Cup in Toronto will begin in earnest today right out of the Olympics. Notable withdrawals include Rafael Nadal, still dealing with knee issues, and Olympic silver medalist Roger Federer. Olympic gold medalist Murray and bronze medalist Del Potro, along with Djokovic, plan to compete. The top sixteen seeds receive first round byes.
ATP World Tour Masters 1000
August 6- August 12, 2012
Prize Money: $2,648,700
Top 8 seeds (who all receive first round byes)
1: Novak Djokovic
2: Andy Murray
3: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
4: Tomas Berdych
5: Janko Tipsarevic
6: Juan Martin Del Potro
7: Juan Monaco
8: John Isner
First round matchups to watch:
Tommy Haas vs. David Nalbandian
In a battle of skilled veterans, the red-hot Haas, a Washington finalist, will take on Nalby. Haas will be a favorite as he has played more on hardcourts now.
Kevin Anderson vs. Mihail Youzhny
Both these guys have had an up and down year and are certainly talented. They also play contrasting styles, and while Anderson is usually slightly better on hardcourts, Youzhny has played better recently but suffered a first round loss at the Olympics. These guys are just a couple of places apart from each other in the rankings.
Alex Bogomolov vs. Viktor Troicki
Bogomolov has had a horrendous 2012, but he did manage to snatch a first round win at the Olympics this week over Carlos Berlocq. On the other side of things, Troicki lost in the first round of the Olympics to Nicolas Almagro, but has had a pretty decent year, doing well in both Wimbledon (R16) and the French Open (R32).
Novak Djokovic, the unlucky loser of the Olympic bronze medal match, will try to regroup first against either a continually slumping Bernard Tomic, who will be happy to be back on hardcourts or a qualifier. After that, he could face dangerous 13-seed Kei Nishikori, who upset David Ferrer and made the Olympic quarterfinals or CitiOpen semifinalist and LA champion Sam Querrey. If he gets through that, he likely faces a rematch with the man who beat him for the Olympic bronze, Juan Martin Del Potro, in the quarterfinals.
Del Potro will face either Radek Stepanek or DC champion Alexandr Dolgopolov, and then could get the man Dolgopolov beat in the DC final, the scorching Tommy Haas. If that match comes to fruition, it will be brilliant given the high level of play both guys have been at recently. 9-seed Gilles Simon, who has struggled recently, is also in this part of the draw and will play the winner of Haas/Nalbandian.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who did well to make the quarters in Olympic singles, will face the winner of Jeremy Chardy vs. Donald Young in his opener. After that, he could get either Florian Mayer or Marcel Granollers, a couple of players more comfortable on clay. The quarters could find him facing Janko Tipsarevic. This is not a bad draw for Jo Willie.
Tipsarevic will face the winner of Youzhny/Anderson and then could face 10-seed Marin Cilic or Marcos Baghdatis in the third round.
Olympic Gold Medalist and two- time Rogers Cup champion Andy Murray will come off the biggest win of his career and face a qualifier in the second round. He could get home favorite Milos Raonic and another big serving big man, John Isner in the quarters. These are tricky matchups, but given his form, he should be able to do well adjusting to the hard courts.
Isner will face the winner of Pablo Andujar/Lukas Lacko and then likely faces a somewhat tricky Phillip Kohlschreiber in the third round, with the winner making the quarters.
Tomas Berdych, struggling as of late, starts off against Julien Benneteau or a qualifier and then could face another Frenchman, Richard Gasquet, in the third round. In the quarters, the winner could get Juan Monaco, Mardy Fish or maybe even Andreas Seppi of Italy.
Pico Monaco starts off against the winner of Seppi vs. Canadian favorite and Olympian Vasek Pospisil. He’d then likely face Mardy Fish, (still dealing with ankle issues, it seems) in the third round.
Dark Horse/Cheval Sombre: Juan Monaco
Monaco has been hot as of late, even though he suffered a second round loss to Feliciano Lopez in the Olympics. He’s a new top 10′er and was a winner of three clay court events this year and a finalist in another. He also made the semis of the hard court event in Indian Wells this year, beating his most likely ‘trip up’ in his part of the draw, Mardy Fish. His quarterfinals match up would likely be either the inconsistent Richard Gasquet or the struggling Tomas Berdych, neither of which is an impossible match up, giving him a good shot at the semis.
Djokovic d. Tsonga
Murray d. Monaco
Murray d. Djokovic
Andy will try to keep the momentum going in Canada.