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.
2012 ATP London (Queen’s Club) Preview
By Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
ATP World Tour 250
June 11- June 16 2012
The larger of the grass court events this week, Queens Club in London features a fine field that includes 3 players in the top 10: home favorite Andy Murray, Jo Wilfried-Tsonga and Janko Tipsarevic.
Top 8 seeds (who all receive 1st round byes)
1: Andy Murray
2: Jo Wilfried-Tsonga
3: Janko Tipsarevic
4: Gilles Simon
5: Feliciano Lopez
6: Marin Cilic
7: Andy Roddick
8: Julien Benneteau
1st round matchups to watch:
Liam Broady vs. Gilles Muller
The young British wild card Broady, who was Junior Aussie open doubles champion and a Wimbledon junior finalist last year in singles will make his first ATP tournament appearance against veteran serve and volleyer Muller. Much is expected of the young Brit and an early upset would give his career a nice spark.
Vasek Pospisil vs. David Nalbandian
Vashy and Nalby both lost in the 1st round in Paris and both are looking to bounce back on the grass this week. Nalbandian will be a heavy favorite, but hopefully Vashy can give a good go of it.
Ivo Karlovic vs. Lleyton Hewitt
Karlovic and Hewitt, a couple of wily veterans, will replay their Wimbledon 2003 battle on the grass once again (albeit at a very different time in their career). Karlovic will have the advantage of his smashing serve while Hewitt continues his comeback efforts. He lost in 4 sets to Martin Klizan in Paris.
Sam Querrey vs. Olivier Rochus
The American Querrey, who was once a hot shot on the ATP tour but is now more of a grinder trying to break through, will take on veteran serve and volleyer Rochus in a clash of style and size. “Q-Ball” will tower over Rochus, but that may not be enough to give him the victory as the Belgian is full of fight.
Andy Murray will begin his quest for a 3rd Queens club title in 4 years. He will start against either grass courter Nicolas Mahut or Guillimero Garcia Lopez, and then he could face the tricky Gilles Muller or youngster Grigor Dimitrov.
Feliciano Lopez, no slouch on grass himself, will open against either Steve Darcis of Belgium or Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo, and then a possible match up with big serving 9 seed Kevin Anderson, who could cause him trouble.
Gilles Simon will face Ernest Gulbis or Simone Bolleli and then a motley crue of either Alex Bogomolov, Martin Klizan, the man who beat Lleyton Hewitt in Paris, Adrian Ungur, who took a set off Federer in Paris or veteran Xaiver Malisse.
Andy Roddick, who bowed out in a sad showing against Mahut at Roland Garros, will start off another go on the grass against a qualifier or Edourd Roger-Vasselin before possibly facing fellow veteran David Nalbandian, who is in slightly better form. Argentine Leonardo Mayer, youngster Vasek Pospisil, who lost a tough one against Vasselin in Paris in 5 sets or Malek Janziri.
Murray and Simon would be favored to advance here, but Lopez and Nalbandian, the wily vets, could do some damage as well.
Tsonga, who lost a heart wrenching match to Djokovic in Paris where he had 4 match points and was unable to convert any of them, losing in 5, will face Brits Jamie Baker or Oliver Golding. After that he’d likely face veteran Go Soeda, Bjorn Phau, Frank Dancevic or Ivan Dodig.
Julien Benneteau will face either Paolo Lorenzi or Tatsuma Ito. After that, he’s looking at either Olivier Rochus, the serve and volleying Belgian, Sam Querrey, Denis Istomin or a qualifier. Rochus, if he can get through Querrey and then likely Istomin, is a lurking threat in this part of the draw.
3 seed Janko Tipsarevic will face either Dimitry Tursunov or a qualifier and then either extremely dangerous Ivo Karlovic, Lleyton Hewitt, Igor Kunitysn or Lu-Tsen Hu.
Should he get through that 6 seed, Marin Cilic poses his own threat. Cilic will face either fellow big man Matt Ebden or Matthias Bachinger. Marcos Baghdatis will play Fredico Gil and then either Lukas Rosol or Victor Hanescu to set up a clash with Cilic.
Dark Horse: David Nalbandian
While Nalbandian hasn’t played great recently, he faces the advantage of not having to play anyone early on who has been playing that well, either. He has shown he can do damage on the grass in the past. He will be favored over Pospisil and Mayer/Jaziri and then could knock off a struggling Roddick or another lower-ranked player. That sets him up to do battle with Simon, and while he would be an underdog, you can’t put it past him to grab the upset.
Murray d. Simon
Tsonga d. Cilic
Tsonga d. Murray
These matches will likely come down to the head game, as Murray has been (as Pam Shriver described him) “disheveled, disenchanted and disgusted” for almost the entire clay court season. The season culminated in a gashing loss to Ferrer in 4 sets in Paris, while Tsonga choked away his big chance against Djokovic in the Paris quarters and let the home country down. Not to mention the home pressures on Murray, who seems to just be a lot more of a headcase than he used to be. Ivan Lendl may be to blame.