2014/11/23

Del Potro Starts Slowly, Eases Past Davydenko

Del Potro

By Curt Janka

(March 10, 2013) INDIAN WELLS, California – Nikolay Davydenko can be a dangerous floater in any draw, but that worry never seemed to occur to a nonplussed Juan Martin Del Potro as the Argentine casually notched a 6-3, 6-4 win. Despite conceding a break at the beginning of both sets, Del Potro hardly appeared concerned as he gradually wore down the defenses of Davydenko.

Del Potro looked downright sluggish at the opening of the match and quickly found himself trailing 0-2. The crowd didn’t gasp at a booming Del Potro forehand until the seventh game, and that one was out.  Still, for the stretches of the match that Del Potro reined in his errors, he was able to force his opponent to start missing.

Looking ahead in the brackets, he will need to get in gear more quickly against the likes of Nicolas Almagro, should they meet in the quarterfinals.

Similarly, Marin Cilic looked unfazed by Albert Ramos in their earlier match. The opening set was tightly contested, but the second set quickly got away from Ramos as Cilic walked away with a 7-6(7), 6-2 win. Neither player faced a break point until the second set. Then Cilic earned two consecutive breaks to secure an insurmountable lead.

Throughout their match, Cilic played safe, but deep balls while it was Ramos going for the bigger shots, win or lose. In the end, Ramos was hitting more errors than winners. Cilic was content to punch his time card and advance to the next round where he will face a tougher opponent in Milos Raonic.

Curt Janka is covering the BNP Paribas Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his tournament updates @TennisNewsTPN. Follow his personal twitter @CurtJanka.

[nggallery id=82]

Share

Federer Sets Up Exciting Third Round Clash Against Tomic

Roger Federer photo © Enrique Fernandez for Tennis Panorama

Roger Federer photo © Enrique Fernandez for Tennis Panorama

By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 17, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK,  Australia – Roger Federer had an easy straight sets win over long term rival Nikolay Davydenko 6-3, 6-4 6-4 to move through to a much anticipated third round encounter against Bernard Tomic.

 

Federer took to the court in a surprising ensemble of lavender grey shirt and pink detailing around his chest, shoes and sweatband in a change from the classic blue shift he displayed on day two of the Open. “I have nothing to say at all. I like to play around with various colors.” He said when asked about the color choice on court after the match.

 

Federer breezed through the match taking an early break in each set and never looking back. He was able to take the foot off the gas in the final set and sealed the match with an ace.

 

He discussed the match-up against Tomic in the post-match news conference and analysed the learning curve Tomic has had to experience in the past months.

 

“Yeah, I guess he’s learned a lot in the last year. It’s been, you know, a year of a younger player on tour. I went through the same sort of thing, you know, ups and downs, playing on the big courts, playing on the smaller courts, playing against all the different opponents for the first time. So it’s tricky.”

 

“It’s nice he’s been able to turn it around after a tough end of the year last year. It seems he’s playing well. Obviously a difficult match-up in terms of early in the tournament. But I’ve got to be ready, so I’m looking forward to the match.”

 

Federer said that he should have an edge over the confident Tomic due to his experience and fitness level.

 

“Look, I have so much more experience than him. Last year I reached my thousandth match on tour. That’s what I meant. I know how hard a five-setter can be. I know how intense a night session can be and all these things.”

 

“Whatever that means, length of rally, length of match, intensity, I’ve been there. That could potentially help me, but it could also not help me.”

 

“We’ll see how it goes. But he’s done a really nice job today, for instance, in the heat. He’s already played at night, so you see that as well. I don’t have a big advantage in this regard. I don’t see it as an advantage actually.”

 

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

Share

Fish Rallies from Two Sets Down to Win at US Open

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – For only the second time in Mardy Fish’s career he has rallied from a two-set deficit to win a match. The American seeded 23 did that on Thursday in a second round and defeated  Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko 4-6, 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-1, 6-2.

“You swing a little bit more freely when you’re down like that.  But, yeah, I mean, I was tight,” said Fish.  “I was nervous.  I wasn’t playing well, and he was.  That’s why I was down two sets to love.”

 

“It’s a big stage obviously just to win on, period.  But to be able to come back like that, especially against a great player, he’s been to the semifinals twice here.  He’s playing great tennis.  His results recently haven’t been where he’s played consistently.  He’s sort of been up and down.  Maybe that’s what I was relying on a little bit, because he was playing great the first two sets.”

Fish missed two months during the year with an irregular heartbeat.

It’s the 10th time in the tournament this year that a man has come back from two sets down to win.

The 30-year-old Fish hit 16 aces during the almost three-and-a-half hour match.

Share

Blue Clay Blues

Sunday’s player quotes about the unique blue clay courts being used at this year’s Madrid Open:

 

Nikolay Davydenko

 

How do I explain about the court? It’s not the color of court that is the problem. You need to come prepared and be practicing for a couple of days before the match. Every place plays a little different like when we go to Rome next week the surface will also be different. If the tournament prepares a very good court, inside and outside, we can prepare and play and enjoy tennis. It doesn’t matter which color it is blue or red. Some players are saying that outside the courts are so bad, the bounce, and you play a different tennis – that is the problem. It’s not about color, it’s about how the court plays. For the eye and the ball it was okay. Socks are blue now, not red after the match. The color looks nice. If they start to prepare better the court, for us it doesn’t matter.

 

Maria Sharapova

Yes, it felt quite slippery today and there was not much clay on it but I guess every week is different. I don’t mind the color so much but I do wish it was still part of the tradition and still was what we are going to play on in a few weeks at the big one. It’s obviously a little bit of a change for us but it is what it is.

Is the mark the ball makes on the court easier to see on blue clay:

I think that when it is drier it is easier to see, when it is like today, it was pretty dry and a bit slippery but I think that on a heavier day… When we practiced on it, it was cold and almost raining and the court was actually quite different color, like a dark blue and then today was a little bit different. I think it just depends on how much clay there is, in some parts there is not a lot of clay in other parts there are a lot.

 

Ana Ivanovic

It’s actually fun to play on blue clay, I think.

 

Victoria Azarenka

Rating the condition of the blue clay courts:

Well, definitely different from any other clay that we play and its unusual in that it took me a much longer time to take a shower-in that stuff! I don’t want to get into talking if I like it or I don’t like it. The surface is what it is. All you can do is try to win matches and adapt to it. If it’s good or not it doesn’t make any sense.

Yeah, it is pretty slippery.

No, the bounce is different which changes everything completely already. It’s just a completely different thing. Nobody really asked the players if they want to do it so what’s the point in talking about it.

 

Difference between the clay last year and this year:

It is 100% different. It’s completely different, that’s what I keep saying but if you want to ask me again, yes it’s different.

 

Caroline Wozniacki

Share

Around the Grounds with “Behind These Walls” Filmmaker Rex Miller at the Sony Ericsson Open

Director/Filmmaker/Photographer/Tennis Coach Rex Miller is down at the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne this week.

I had the great opportunity to do some directing on a new promotional campaign for the WTA (I can’t talk about the details yet, but we were shooting all the top players, lots of fun, three – 18-hour days). This is my first post for  Tennis Panorama as I wandered the grounds of the Sony Ericsson Open on Wednesday.

Thomaz Bellucci

Thomaz Bellucci had a great run last week at Indian Wells, he pushed Roger Federer pretty close to the edge, and was a few points from taking the match, so I was eager to check him out up close. He was extremely flat in a morning match against Frederico Gil of Portugal, who was extremely pumped up. The crowd was split between the Brazilians and the Portuguese, both sides waving flags, and singing songs. The Brazilians had little to cheer for as Bellucci fell behind a set and two breaks at 4-1. Gil got a little tense and seemed to be begging Bellucci to come back in and join him for a fight, much to the delight of the Brazilians. Bellucci clawed back to 4-3 and had two break points but he felt the pressure and Gil was able to hold, and eventually limped across the finish line for 6-4. I say limped because both players were afraid to hit out, opting for steady play in the breezy conditions.

I’ve always thought that Bellucci’s talent was at a much higher than his results. He left the court despondent and skipped his post-match media conference.

 

James Blake

I caught the first set of James Blake- Nikolay Davydenko where Blake again proved that he has one of the best forehands in the game, as he ripped winners from many spots, with the crowd oohing and aahing.

Nikolay Davydenko

I’ve seen Blake too many times to get emotionally attached during his matches. I heard he eventually succumbed to the steely Russian, who–despite being one of the more un-animated players, is a joy to watch for those of us who love great footwork and amazing ball-striking.

I was anxious to catch American wild-card Denis Kudla, the 19 year-old from Washington, DC by way of Ukraine. I spent some time with Kudla two years ago as he was a subject of a documentary I shot for Tennis Channel “Who’s Next.” He’s a product of the Champions Training Center in College Park, which also produced University of Virgina’s freshman sensation and current NCAA No.1 Mitchell Frank and Texas A&M’s Junior Ore. Kudla is one of the best ball strikers you’ll see, he has absolutely great technique on both sides, has a good bit of pop on his serve and although being about 5’9″ or 5’10,” has bulked up in the shoulders a lot in the last two years and will probably continue to do so.

Denis Kudla

Today, Kudla was up against qualifier Antonio Veic from Croatia and he came out smoking. The two had long rallies with Kudla often controlling the action, ripping from both sides and occasionally venturing to the net to finish points with crisp volleys and a deft touch. He broke the Croatian twice to take it 6-2. Kudla has steadily climbed the rankings and is now at around 160. I sat next to his agent Sam Duvall who mentioned what an important match this was for a kid who is 160–big points at these Super Masters series, a great opportunity for a big jump, one that is hard to come by in the dogged ATP world. Kudla couldn’t maintain his high level and eventually lost in 3, I’m sure a disappointment to the hard-working kid, but look out for him because I think he’s going to have some good results in the near future.

 

Rex Miller is a filmmaker/tennis coach and self-described tennis geek who is covering the Sony Ericsson Open for Tennis Panorama News. He was the Director and Producer for the documentary – Behind these walls which aired on Tennis Channel. It talks about the unique world of “tennis behind bars” at San Quentin State (CA),Penitentiary, one of America’s most infamous prisons. Read more about Rex and his work at http://www.rexpix.net/.

Share