Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Just wanted to say Merry Christmast, to all my readers out there. I got something really awesome for Christmas this year. Along with some tennis gear, I received a copy of Andre's new book Open.

Now I can finally review it in depth, so give me a few days, I'm going to take some time and read it, then I'll be back with a full lenth review on the book.

Happy hollidays.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Stan the man, ties the knot

Here's a picture of Stan with his new bride Ilham Vuilloud. I was a little bit surprised to find out that she was 11 years older than him but I guess, Stan's got a taste for older women. Vuilloud, is about 7 months pregnant with their first child, so this could be a tougher Australian Open than typical for Stan. His focus may not be there and it could leave him vulnerable to an early round upset. On the other hand maybe he'll rise to the occasion, just like Roger did at Wimbledon.

Best wishes to Stan and his new family I hope they have a happy holiday season.:D

Monday, December 14, 2009

2010 Grand Slam Champions prediction

With 2009 now in it's last few weeks, I decided it was time to get started on my prediction list for next year's grand slam champions. This was a bit tricky because I believe it's mostly going to come down to Nadal and Roger. How good they're playing, if Nadal is injured, etc. If they're both have a great season next year they could easily sweep the majors like they've done in the past but if they're a bit off their games or there's an injury, then the door is certainly open enough for someone else to take the titles from them. Anyway, I've come up with a list, it's a little bit different than what you might have expected but I think it's a pretty feasible one.

Australian Open: Andy Murray

Last year, around this time, I predicted Nadal, to win the Australian Open. He was playing great tennis in 2008 and for the most part he was outplaying the rest of the field. I also had a feeling that he was going to win the title and now I've got that same feeling about Murray. Murray's 09 season was relatively mediocre, he hasn't reached a slam final since 2008 and that might motivate him to put up a great performance at the first major of the new year. Murray's, biggest obstacle, most likely will be Roger Federer. In their past 10 meetings Murray has never once beaten Roger in a slam, and if they both make the finals, it will be all the more difficult. Roger, is a tough player to beat on any normal day but when he makes the finals, he raises his game to it's absolute limit making him damn near impossible to beat. Murray's going to have to reach a new level to beat Roger. He'll have to play harder, make better use of his serve, and really play aggressively from the baseline but if he's able to do all that, he's got a great shot at the title.

French Open: Rafael Nadal

This year was just a bad year for Nadal. When he lost to Soderling, he had everything going wrong, bad knees, fast clay, and an opponent who was playing well above his usual level. If Nadal comes into this without being injured, he should walk away the champion. He's still heads and shoulders above everyone else on clay.

Wimbledon: Rafael Nadal

Again, this is assuming that he's not injured. I expect Roger will make the finals again but just like in 2008 Rafa, will get in his head and will beat Roger on his strongest surface in a close 4 or 5 set match.

US Open: Roger Federer

I think Roger will take back his US Open crown next year. He's just too dominant at this tournament for me to rule against him. Roger, will be 29 next year at the US Open and that's not young for tennis but I still believe he's got enough time to win a few more majors. I predict Roger, will win back the US Open title against Del Potro in the finals.

New gear at Pro Direct.

If you want to see the new racquets, strings, and apparel, for 2010, look no farther than They've got a bunch of the new stuff on pre-order, so definitely check that out. The 2010 Nike apparel that I've seen is a lot better than the 2009.

I'm also hosting this Flash Game tournament on Tennis Warehouse Forums and one of the participants was nice enough to recommend me to this website (thanks Kishnabe): This is probably the best tennis flash game that I've ever seen. I was really happy that I could play with my favorite characters (Nadal, Federer, Simon, Monfils, Verdasco) and next to the Topspin series for the X box, it might be the one of the best tennis games ever made. I strongly recommend trying this if you are at all into gaming.:D

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Spain, crushes Czech Republic in the Davis Cup Finals

Spain's matches against the Czech Republic, in the Davis Cup Finals, were less like a competition and more like a slaughter. Typically, when you get 5 Spanish players, together on slow clay courts, you're putting their opponents at a significant disadvantage but if most of those Spanish players happen to be in the top 20, you may as well sign their opponent's death warrants. The Czech Team lead by Tomas Berdych and Raddek Steppanek, simply didn't have the weapons needed to beat this strong of a team on their best surface.

The first match of the Davis Cup finals was between Nadal and Berdych and if you've been following tennis closely over the last month or two, you'll already know that Nadal, has been on a losing streak. Since his return back in August he hasn't been playing up to his 2008/ early 09 standard, so what better way to restore his confidence than by trouncing Berdych, a player known for his occasionally strong hard court performances. Well, that's exactly what he did on Friday. Berdych, was able to hold his ground for most of the first set but once Nadal, broke serve at 5-all, the match was over. Rafa, won 13 games in a row before Berdych finally managed to spare himself from the dreaded double bagel. Still, Rafa took this one with ease, 7-5, 6-0, 6-2.

In the second match of the finals, Spain, sent out David Ferrer and the Czech Republic used their second best player, Raddek Steppanek. This was a surprising move on Spain's behalf because Fernando Verdasco was available to play and he's ranked higher than Ferrer is. Well, Ferrer was able to win the match but it took him 5 long grueling, sets to do it. Stepanek, was absolutely brilliant and he dominated Ferrer, in the first two sets. Even though he desperately struggled throughout the beginning, David improved as as the match went on. He found his footing, early in the third set and eventually started breaking Steppanek's serve. After more than 3 hours both players were level at 2 sets all. Now, came the final set and with this being a make or break match for the Czech Republic, I'll tell you it was very intense. For the first 12 games of the final set neither player was able to break the other one's serve, but it was becoming apparent that Stepanek, was running out of steam. Finally at 6-all, David Ferrer, broke serve and was able to hold his own to win the marathon five setter and give Spain their second win in a row.

Next came the doubles match between Lopez/Verdasco and Berdych/Stepanek. Unlike Ferrer, it didn't take Lopez and Verdasco five sets to win. They were able to finish off Berdych & Stepanek in a relatively competitive 3 sets.

For the last two matches, I'll use two words to describe them..."Squash Match." Now, if you're not a WWE fanatic, you probably don't know what those words mean, so let me explain. In the Pro Wrestling world, they have a term which is used for describing a heavily one sided match, where one wrestler dominates the other one. This term is called a squash match. I think this term perfectly describes the Nadal vs Hajek and Ferrer vs Dlouhy matches. Nadal squashed Jan Hajek and Ferrer squashed Dlouhy to give Spain a shut out victory over the Czech Republic and also their second consecutive Davis Cup title. Not really sure why they had to play these last two matches, because they already had a 3-0 lead which guaranteed them the title but oh well.

Anyway congrats to Spain, for winning their second straight Davis Cup title. They're going to be serious contenders in the future because they've got all the right players on their team and when they're able to compete on clay they're just about unstoppable. I expect Spain, will go on to win many more Davis Cup titles, in the next few years.:)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Kim Sears says enough to Andy Murray's gaming habits

Did you hear about this? Supposedly Andy Murray's girlfriend Kim Sears, got fed up with Andy's excessive gaming habits and decided to break up with him because he was playing Modern Warcraft 2 for up to 7 hours a day. I laughed so hard when I heard this that I was literally rolling on the floor. I mean think about it, Andy Murray is the #4 tennis player in the world, he has a great looking girlfriend, yet he would rather spend lots of time playing a PS3 video game (albeit a very good one) than working on his tennis game or spending time with his GF?!

Ok, I know that's not completely fair, the tennis player do get a lot of down time towards the end of the season and my guess is that Andy, was probably playing the game back in October when he was sidelined with his wrist injury. Still, I am a little bit surprised that he had that much time to play. How was he able to fit tennis in, if he was playing the game for 7 hours a day? Not to mention press conferences, flights, physical training, and drug testing.

There's probably more to this story than was made public but still it's really weird.:D

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Davydenko wins the ATP World Tour finals

At the start of the tournament, I doubt anyone who would have predicted Davydenko, to walk away the champion, but congrats to him for doing so. Not only is this his biggest tournament victory ever, but he also managed to snap a 12 match losing streak against his long time rival, Roger Federer. Davydenko's road to the finals, wasn't an easy one though, he lost the opening round robin match to Djokovic in a very tight 3 set match, but he recovered against Nadal winning easily in straight sets, then Davydenko put up a great performance to overcome Soderling in another tight 3 set match. Once in the semis, Davydenko had to face Roger Federer and anyone who knows anything about their head-to-head wouldn't bet on Davydenko to win the match. In the past Davydenko has struggled against Roger and has even developed somewhat of a reputation for choking away matches against him. This time it was different, Davydenko got the perfect start against Roger and lead 4-1 in the first set before closing it out a few games later six games to two. In the second set Roger struck back hard and leveled the match at a set all, so now it's the third set both guys are playing great especially Davydenko, all he needs to do is get the one break on Roger's serve and he can win the match. At 4-5 love-15 Roger hit an amazing overhead and jammed Davydenko at the net which brought him to 2 points from winning the match. Davydenko, held his nerve and managed to serve out the game, then at 5-all he finally got the break he needed and went on to serve out the match. The confidence that Davydenko got from beating Roger, was enough to carry him through the final match, where he rolled past Del Potro 6-3, 6-4, to claim his first ever Masters Cup trophy.

If there was one thing that disappointed me about the World Tour Finals, I would say that it was Nadal's early exit. I would have loved to have seen a Federer vs Nadal semi-final match and it was really sad to see him get destroyed by Soderling and Davydenko. I mean he's the #2 player in the world, I just feel like he should have been able to win one of those matches or at least force them to 3 sets. I don't know, I hope Nadal has a much better year next year and if he's able to stay relatively injury free he might be able to win a couple of majors. We'll see how he's playing next year but that's my hope.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Santoro hangs up his racquet after 20 years on tour

I've always liked Fabrice Santoro, his polite and classy behaviour combined with his incredible shot making and determination, has made him a hugely popular player amongst hard core tennis fans. While he might not have been a house-hold name to the casual follower, Santoro, was still one of the most enjoyable players to watch. He favored spin and placement over aggression and power, he was mostly a defensive player but at times he could go on the offense by coming to the net or adding more spin to his serve. He's also, one of the few players ever to have had a two handed forehand, which is definitely a must see. In case you haven't seen it before, I've included the link to a few of his matches at the bottom of this post so click on them and enjoy.:)

Santoro's, pro career began 20 years ago, at the 1989 French Open, where he lost a five set match to David Wheaton in the first round. This was also the same tournament where he claimed his first (and only) boys jr. grand slam title. In his early years on tour, Santoro managed to get some very credible wins against the best players, he beat Boris Becker in the 1992 Olympics and managed to win 2 of his first 3 meetings with Pete and Andre but despite his success against the top players, Santoro, routinely struggled to get into the later rounds of the majors and was only able to make the second week once in his whole career. Oddly enough, he skipped Wimbledon 7 times but only missed the French Open once.

The late 90s/early 2000s were probably Santoro's best years on tour, he claimed 4 of his 6 singles titles during this time period and in August of 2001, he reached his career high ranking of 17 in the world. In 2003 and 04 Santoro and his doubles partner Michael Llorda, claimed the Australian Open title back to back and managed to reach the French Open finals. Two years later Santoro achieved his best results ever at a singles grand slam, reaching the quarter-finals at the 2006 Australian Open.

Even in his last years on tour, Santoro proved that he was still dangerous, by upsetting high ranked players like Djokovic and big servers like Isner. In 2007 and 08 Santoro claimed the New Port title, making him one of the oldest players ever to win an ATP level singles tournament. Earlier this year Santoro, declared that this would be his last year on tour. And after losing to James Blake today in the Paris Masters tournament, Santoro shook hands at the net, (while exchanging shirts) and left the stadium for the last time, the crowds applause roaring behind him.

Fabrice wins the 1989 French Open boys jr. title

Santoro defeats Novak Djokovic Paris 2007

Santoro vs Andre 1994

Santoro rallies against Federer

Fabrice retrospect on his career:

Friday, November 6, 2009

Thoughts on Andre's new book

I've decided to write a post about Andre Agassi's new book titled 'Open'. In this book Andre, brings up some pretty controversial things. Substance abuse, his marriage with Brook Shields, being pushed into tennis by his father, and he even admitted to having worn a wig during the 1990 French Open Final.

In addition to all of those things, Andre, also confessed to having a deep, secret hatred for tennis, brought about by his father's incessant need for him to become a pro. According to Andre, he didn't even want to go pro, but his dad never gave him a choice about it. It all started for him, when he was a small kid. Andre's, father made him practicing returning 110 mph balls, against a mechanically altered ball machine. As Andre got older, his father, would bribe him to skip school, in order to practice more tennis. Andre, said that his dad didn't think much of education and encouraged Andre to scorn it as well. Andre's dad put so much pressure on him to perform, that he began to hate tennis, this anger towards tennis continued into his adult years and was one of the main reasons for his inconsistency. Andre, didn't want to be a tennis player and he didn't care if he did well at it, it was just something that he had to do.

Unfortunately, this probably happens to a lot of kids, who's parents force them into sports or competitions. There's so much pressure to perform that they get fed up with it and rebel against their parents. I'm sorry to hear this happened to Andre Agassi, considering the stories that I've heard about Andre's father smashing his fourth place trophy when he was 10 years old, I can understand why Andre wouldn't have enjoyed tennis.

Now as for Andre's drug abuse that's completely different. The media has been making a huge deal out of this, we've had tennis players, both current and past who have been giving their opinions on it, in fact pretty much everyone has an opinion on this. I personally, am disappointed but not altogether surprised that he resorted to drugs, during the low point of his tennis career. Things, weren't the way Andre wanted them to be and he was severely depressed. so when his assistant offered him some crystal meth, he decided to take it, thinking that his life couldn't get any worse.

While, I can understand Andre's desire to get out of his depressed state, it doesn't change the fact that he was using an illegal substance, that could debateably be considered a performance enhancing drug. Why didn't the ATP hold him accountable for this? Well it turns out that he did fail one of his drug tests, and they did question him about it, but he made up some story about his assistant slipping meth into his sports drink by accident. Why the ATP bought this story I'll never know. Today, these athletes are tested almost every week for illegal drugs. Just this year, Gasquet had a drug test that turned out positive, for a tiny, tiny amount of cocaine and that resulted in an instant ban for him, until he was able to clear his name. Should Andre receive the same kind of punishment for using crystal Meth. It's been 12 years but it doesn't really seem fair that he should be able to get away without any kind of fine. It's a tough question to answer. Performance enhancing drugs will get you a 2 year ban on the tour and that would strip Andre of his Roland Garros and US Open titles from 1999, as well as his Australian Open title from 2000.
Would this be the right thing to do? I don't know, it seems a bit excessive but then again he did break the rules. This is definitely a tough question to answer.

So I'd like to hear from you guys, what's your opinion about Andre's drug use? Should he be fined, penalized, have his titles taken away or was it just too long ago for it to matter?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Worst tennis video games of all time part 2

Hey guys, I'm back now with part two of this series. Well, so far the games I've reviewed have been awful. Could these next two games possibly be any worse? Let's find out.:)

Game: Tennis

Year: 1989

System: Game boy

In this game, you play as a kid, who's goal is to become the best tennis player ever. To do this, he has to overcome four opponents of various skill levels to become the "Tennis Master" or something like that. Anyway, the serving is much simpler and the groundstrokes and cross court volleys are easy to execute but covering the court is frustrating to say the least. Your character is so slow that it's pointless to rally from the baseline, if you hit a decent shot it will most likely be a winner since neither you nor your opponent are able to run very fast. The best tactic for this game is to just serve and volley. You can do this pretty much all through the game, as long as you have decent serves out wide, you'll have no trouble.

All in all, this one isn't bad but the lack of speed from your character can make it annoying. The controls are also pretty good with this game.

Game: Andre Agassi Tennis

Year: 1993

System: Super Nintendo

This game, is HORRIBLE!! It is so bad and so boring that it's not even worth playing. I am not exaggerating when I say that this game, is the worst tennis game, that I've ever played. Easily the worst. However, I did promise to review this one so, here it goes.

When you first turn on the game you are greeted with pictures of Andre during his early mullet days at Wimbledon, that and some cheesy music. Once you press start you can choose what kind of match you want to play, IE: exhibition, practice, or tournament. You can also choose to be a female tennis player but there's only 2 of them to pick from. I guess the game designers didn't think that girls would buy this, or they would have included a better selection.

Once you start the tournament you can choose what surface you want. There isn't any difference between them, so it doesn't really matter which one you choose. Ok, now we can finally start the match. The first thing that you'll notice, upon starting, is how bad the graphics are. The animation is poor, the characters are not well detailed, and the colors are hideous. In addition to that, the ball bounces like a deflated tire, making it just about impossible to carry on an extended rally. Serving, is annoying because the ball tends to go wide if you hold down the arrow, in the direction that you want to serve. It's better to just toss the ball up and hit it in,without going for precision. The ground strokes, in this game are WORSE than in Top Players Tennis, if you can believe that. You can hit the ground strokes so that they bounce high or drop low and that's it. No slice, no topspin, no underspin, no variety, just high balls and low balls.

If you are somehow able to master the worst controls of all time, you may be able to win the tournament and beat the game. I don't know what happens, I've never been able to do that, I can't win more than 2 games per match and I've tried several times.

This is without a doubt the worst game I've ever played. It's a disgrace that it was ever made. Stay away from this thing, it's just pure junk.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Worst tennis video games of all time

Since, this is towards the end of the tennis season and the World Tour Final isn't for a few more weeks, I decided to do a few posts just for fun, to talk about some of the worst tennis video games that I've played. Surprisingly, there's a lot of them.

Now, if you're like me, you pretty much grew up with video games and started gaming at a very early age, with Nintendo, Sega or Playstation. The first system that I ever owned was a Super Nintendo but later on in my early teens I played a couple of the old NES games at a friend's house and two of the games that he had were, Top Players Tennis and Jimmy Connor's Tennis.

Today I'll be reviewing both games for the original Nintendo and just to be fair I replayed them recently and they were just as bad as I remembered.

Game: Top players Tennis

Year: 1990

System: Nintendo

This is the most pathetic excuse that I've ever seen for a video game. When you first turn on the game, you are greeted by an annoying robotic voice which tells you the names of the two pro tennis players, in this game, Chris Evert and Ivan Lendl. When you press start the player select screen pops up and you can play as one of four players, Evert, Lendl, and a really ugly boy and girl. The controls on this game just suck. Your character tosses the ball so high, that it almost goes out of the stadium and it makes the serve extremely difficult to time. You have to start your service motion when the ball is at it's maximum height so it looks like you're swinging at a ball that's over 40 feet in the air. The ground stokes, while confusing, are manageable, but serving, volleying, moving the character, and controlling the ground strokes is a nightmare.

Bottom line, this game just sucks, it's so bad it's worth trying it just for a laugh but don't spend any money on this early 90s piece of junk.

Game: Jimmy Connors Tennis

Year 1993

System: NES

Well, for a game coming out as late as 1993, I would expect something much better than this. The music is so bad in this game that they give you the option to turn it off and the controls aren't much better, although the serve is much easier in this game than in Top Player's tennis. Jimmy's, ground strokes are slow and his primary weapon is some kind of weird slice shot that he can execute if you hold the B button and then release when you're ready to strike the ball. The volleys are very hard to hit unless you are right on top of them but moving Jimmy around the court isn't that bad. He doesn't slide in the same way that Lendl does in the Top Player's tennis game.

The one strange about this game is that it seems to be set in the 70s. Instead of playing with a yellow tennis ball and graphite racquet, Jimmy is back to his old days of wood frames and white tennis balls. The tennis ball is actually too small in this game, it looks more like a golf ball or maybe a wadded up piece of paper. Yeah, that sounds right to me, Jimmy Connors, is beating his opponents with a wadded up piece of paper.

Anyway, this game is pretty bad but it's not terrible. If you can learn to master Jimmy's weird slice backhand then you might have fun with it but it's going to take some work and a few play throughs, it's not something that you can just sit down and completely master in 5 minutes.

Check back for part 2 where I will be reviewing Andre Agassi's tennis for the SNES and Tennis for the original game boy.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Nike 2010 line

Well, 2009 is almost at an end and in my opinion this has been one of the worst years for Nike in a long time, there clothes this year have just been weird. However, there is good news, I've seen the new Nike line for next year and most of it looks really nice. Here are the links for the Spring and Summer 2010 Nike line on Tennis Warehouse forums:

It seems like Nike has finally gotten away from strange combinations like turquoise with pink and green, or pink with black and yellow and other ugly patterns from earlier this year.

Need I say more.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Safin surpises Davydenko in the first round of the Kremlin Cup

Is it just me or does Marat look kind of like Neo from The Matrix in this pic?

Despite being just a few weeks away from hanging up his racquet for good, Marat Safin managed to prove that he's still got game by eliminating the recent Shanghai champion and former 3 time Kremlin Cup champ Nikolay Davydenko, in 3 sets. I took a look at their head-to head on the ATP website and I was surprised to see that Davydenko has never beaten Safin on hard courts, yet Safin had never beaten Davydenko on clay. It's strange sometimes how the surfaces can make all the difference in a match.

Anyway, I can't say that this is a particularly huge win for Safin, since he's not going to be around for much longer but it would be kind of cool if he wins the Kremlin Cup, at least that way he can sort of go out with a bang.

Safin, will be missed next year, especially by his fans, but I know that he's ready to go and hopefully his life after retirement, will be easier for him than these last few years on tour have been.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Davydenko defeats Nadal to win Shanghai Open

What a strange tournament it's been. With players retiring left and right, Nadal was able to easily progress into the finals defeating two players who retired half way through the matches with injuries. In my opinion, the ATP has got to do something about these injury problems. Federer, Murray, Roddick, Monfils, are all out with injuries and Nadal has been out a lot this year because of his knees. They need to cut back on the amount of tournaments the players are required to play or at least change things around so that months like August, March, April, June, and May aren't so grueling.

Anyway, as for the match, it was a good one, Davydenko played great in parts, (especially in the first set tie-break) and Nadal was a bit off his mark. This is Davydenko's third ATP Masters series title and it will just about guarantee him a place in the World Tour Finals. In last years Year End Masters Davydenko made the finals. With the fast indoor courts playing well to his game, I think he's got a chance of actually winning the title. For him Roger Federer will be the big problem. In all 12 of their meetings he's never beaten him but Roger has been somewhat vulnerable over the last two years and since he's just coming back from his back injury...well who knows. Good luck with that match Nikolay.:)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Who do you want to win the majors next year?

I've been thinking about this recently and I've been trying to figure out what would be the most interesting match ups for the finals of the grand slams, next year. Obviously the Nadal and Federer matches, would probably first come to mind but I tried to pick other top players who would not only be likely to make the finals but would also be capable of playing a great match.
Well, this is what I've come up with for now, let me know what you think:

Australian Open: Nadal vs Del Potro

Reason: Del Potro killed Nadal in all 3 of their meetings on the fast hard courts this year, but the Australian Open surface is different. It's slower than most hard courts and produces a higher bouncing ball, making it a much easier surface to play on for topspinners. Even though Del Potro still has a height advantage, the slowness of the court combined with the higher bounce would give Nadal a fair chance. In fact this would probably be the most neutral surface that I can think of for these two players to meet on. Neither one would have an overwhelming advantage and it would all come down to who played the better match.

French Open: Nadal vs Djokovic

Reason: Since there's already been 3 Federer/Nadal French Open finals, I decided to make my French Open choice between Nadal and Djokovic. Even though Djokovic, has never beaten Nadal on clay, he's come very close several times. Djoker, frequently takes sets off Nadal and he's even had match points in their meeting in Rome 2008 and then earlier this year in Madrid. I'm not sure if Djokovic, would really do any better against Nadal than Federer would but I would rather see him get a chance to prove himself in the French Open finals. Even if Djokovic, loses in straight sets, I know he would at least put up a good fight.

Wimbledon: Nadal vs Federer

Reason: There's just no question that the Federer Nadal matches at Wimby are classics. I don't know anyone who wouldn't want to see more of them. Regardless of who wins, you know your going to have a great match and that's why I'm picking this for the Wimbledon finals.

US Open: Del Potro vs Tsonga

Reason: This one was a bit tricky for me, but I eventually decided to go with Del Potro to make the finals next year, because I'd like to see him try to defend his title, on the biggest stage of all. As for his opponent, I wanted someone who he hasn't played a bunch of times. That's why I'm going with Tsonga. Ever since making the finals at the Australian Open, Tsonga, hasn't come close to winning a major, but I think that would probably change, if makes the finals at the US Open. Tsonga has done well against the top 3 players and he's got the game needed to win the here. He has a huge serve and a powerful forehand, not to mention great volleys. Making him one of the few real all court players still left on tour. Because his game is well rounded, he doesn't have to rely on any one particular shot, in the way that Roddick relies on his serve, or Gasquet relies on his backhand. Tsonga, should be able to give Del Potro everything he could handle and I'd really like to see this one happen next year.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tsonga, overcomes Youzhney to win the Tokyo Open

Now with the Tokyo Open in his pocket, Tsonga's chances of qualifying for the ATP World Tour Finals, have greatly improved. If he does make the cut this will be his second year in a row doing so and with the super fast speed of the Indoor hard courts, Tsonga's, chances of winning there should be as good as any ones.

The next two Masters series tournaments will be played on hard courts, with the BNP Paribas Masters, being held indoors. This should be very good for Tsonga, who likes those fast courts where his serve and groundstrokes, penetrate with lightning fast speeds.

Last year at this time, Tsonga, became a dangerous player and managed to win Bangkok and Paris to seal his place in the year end Masters. I'm expecting similar results this year. Although, that 8th spot is still up for grabs. Gilles Simon, Fernando Verdasco, and Nikolay Davydenko are probably the players who will most seriously contend for it.

For now I'll go with these 8 players to make the World Tour Finals:

1. Roger Federer
2. Rafael Nadal
3. Novak Djokovic
4. Andy Murray
5. Juan Martin Del Potro
6. Andy Roddick
7. Jo Wilfried Tsonga
8. Fernando Verdasco

I'm going to go with Verdasco to just edge out Davydenko and qualify for the first time, in his career. Yeah, ok I admit I'm favoring him because I'm a Verdasco fan. :)

Anyway, that's just a guess, at this point but it seems like the most likely group to me.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Hewitt, ends Vasselin's dream run. Djokovic downs Verdasco

Even though the Vasselin/Hewitt match was one-sided, I really enjoyed what I saw especially in the first set. Vasselin's shot making was incredible and so was Hewitt's. At 4-all Vasselin, had a tough service game with a few too many unforced errors and Hewitt was able to capitalize and break Vasselin, for a 5-4 lead. In the next game Hewitt, managed to serve out the set and then kept the pressure on Vasselin in set 2, which turned out to be more than the Frenchman could handle. Hewitt, took the second set easily without much resistance and finished the match by bageling Vasselin.

This was a good performance, from Hewitt. He's played solidly this week and I think he might be able to make the finals in Tokyo.

Unfortunately, I can't say the same thing for the Djokovic vs Verdasco match. Ordinarily these are two of the most entertaining players on the tour but in their quarter-final meeting they were both very erratic. Djokovic, took the first set easily getting an early break against Verdasco in the second game. but in set two, Djokovic, suddenly faded and it was Verdasco, who dominated, claiming the second set easily 6-1. Then the roles changed again in the final set this time Djokovic was the dominating player. He won the first five games before Verdasco was able to get on the board and avoid being bageled. Then Djokovic finished off Verdasco, in the next game, easily holding serve, to win the match 6-3, 1-6, 6-1.

As a Verdasco fan this was very disappointing. Verdasco, is one of those super talented players, that on his best day is capable of beating anyone. He routinely takes sets from the top 5 but he just doesn't have the consistency to win those matches very often. This wasn't really a bad match but I would have liked to see more from Verdasco and Djokovic probably could have played better in the second set.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Del Potro upset in the first round at Tokyo

Hey guys.:) Sorry to have missed a few days with my blog, I've been playing a lot of tennis recently and I haven't quite had the time to post on here.

I saw the match between Del Potro and Edouard Roger-Vasselin at the Tokyo Open and I was really surprised that Del Potro lost the match in straights. I actually thought Del Potro, played decently for most of the match, he just had a couple of games where he had too many unforced errors and his opponent was able to get the winners when he needed them. Edouard Roger Vasselin, did a great job on saving the break points that Del Potro, had against him, especially since his game didn't seem to match up that well against Del Potro's. He's a good player but he doesn't have an overwhelming serve and he tends to favor spin more than flat hitting. He's also a more defensive type of player than Del Potro. In the very first game of the match, Del potro absolutely served Vasselin, right off the court. Initially I didn't think that he stood a chance but Vasselin proved me, the crowd, and possibly even himself wrong when he managed to get two important breaks to over-come the #5 player in the world, in straight sets.

If Vasselin, continues to play like this then he'll have a good chance of making a decent run in the Tokyo Open. Regardless, of how far he makes it, I'm sure he's thrilled to be into the next round and have a victory over one of the best players in the world.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Gael Monfils claims his second career title in Open de Moselle

Now that the US Open has ended, the excitement of the tournaments kind of slows down until the Year End Masters Cup or the Davis Cup finals. In my opinion, Spain, is very likely to win the Davis Cup, especially if they play the finals on clay. At the moment they just have the best players on their team, Nadal, Verdasco, and Ferrer. Verdasco's, game is well suited to hard courts and Nadal is just about unstoppable on clay. They're already the defending champions and they're such a well rounded team I think it's pretty much a foregone conclusion that they will win the Davis Cup 2009.

As for the other smaller tournaments, something kind of surprising happened this past week. Gael Monfils claimed an ATP title. That might sound kind of harsh but it's been a long time since he's won an ATP level tournament. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see it, but when I found out about it later on, I was thrilled. Monfils, is one of my favorite players and I'm surprised that he hasn't won more title by this point in his career. He's been in 6 finals since winning the Prokom Open, in 2005 but this time, he was the one, walking away with the trophy. Maybe this is the start of something new for him or maybe it's just a surprise win that won't amount to much of anything. I hope it's beginning of something good for him, but we'll have to wait and see.

Most of the top players are now playing in Bangkok, Thailand. The French guys seem to be doing pretty well over there. Gasquet and Monfils, both had strong performances in the early rounds and the defending champion Tsonga is now into the quarter-finals, even though he had to struggle to get past Ernests Gulbis. As for Thailand, I like Tsonga's, chances of retaining his title there, although I could see Gilles Simon, taking it from him. Personally, I hope that Simon does win, he's #9 in the world right now and a victory here would pretty much solidify his chances of qualifying for the Year End Masters Cup.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Britten loses in the opening round of the Davis Cup

Despite having the power-house Andy Murray, on their side, Britten, was overwhelmed in their opening round match for the Davis Cup. This was a sad display from everyone except Murray. Murray, even risked further damage to his left wrist, (which is currently recovering from a strain) by coming out to play in the Davis Cup. Britten's Dan Evans, was put in the final match against Poland, but he clearly wasn't ready for that responsibility and he lost Michal Przysiezny in straight sets, giving Poland a narrow victory over Britten 3-2.

I think that maybe in a few years Evans, will be a better player, but I also wouldn't be surprised if he suffers the same fate as Donald Young. A talented player, with great touch who just doesn't have a big enough game to stay competitive in the important matches. I could be wrong about Evans and I hope that I am. Britten, desperately needs someone to back them up in the Davis Cup. Had it not been for Andy Murray, this would have been an absolutely humiliating defeat for them.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Juan Martin Del Potro wins the US Open

At first I wasn't really sure how I felt about Del Potro winning the Open. I mean I was kind of happy to see a new champion, and knowing that Del Potro is 20 and Roger is 28 it's not really that surprising that a younger player taking over Roger's reign as US Open Champion. Del Potro will be the future of the tennis world and will probably and I'm pretty sure that this US Open title is just the beginning of things to come for him. So while it seemed kind of fitting that Del Potro beat Roger, I was kind of sad to see Roger lose. He's been the US Open champion since I started watching tennis and it's strange, for me, now that he's not.

Many people, including myself, think that Roger is the greatest player of all time, although when it comes to five set matches at the majors, he has shown some vulnerability. This is now the third time that he's lost a 5 set match in a grand slam final. If you compare his five set record in slam finals 2-3 to his four set record (5-2) or 3 set record ( 7-1) you can see that he tends to win more often in shorter matches. I think that his mediocre 5 set record is mostly due to his lack of mental fortitude. Don't get me wrong, Federer is still a strong mental player, but sometimes he gets frustrated by an opponent or his own tactical decision making and instead of trying something different he tends to repeat the same mistake, a good example of this would be in Miami against Djokovic. Or a few years ago at the French Open, when he refused to use a drop shot against Nadal.

As for Del Potro, this title is a huge win for him. Now that he's won a major he's proven that he's a viable threat for the upcoming slams and that he's capable of beating the world's best, on the biggest of stages. I guess time will tell with this guy, he could be a major dominating player in years to come or he could be a flash in the pan who burns out after a few years at the top, kind of like Lleyton Hewitt. A lot will also depend on what kind of rivals Del Potro has during his peak years. I mean think about how many majors Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick would have won, had it not been for Pete Sampras and Roger Federer. Andre, would have possibly doubled the amount of slams that he ended up with and I'm pretty sure Roddick could have won at least 7 or 8. That same kind of fate could befall Del Potro, if he winds up playing in the same era as a player, far superior to him.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Del Potro destoys Nadal, Roger battles past Djokovic

Wow, and I thought the loss Nadal had to Murray last year was bad. This was the worst loss that I've seen for Nadal since the Australian Open semi-finals last year. Nadal, was far too defensive against Del Potro and he paid for it. Del Potro, had him on the run through out most of the match. I never felt like Rafa had a good chance of winning the match after he lost a break early in the first set and was then broken again for Del Potro to win the first set 6-2. Del Potro then repeated that pattern twice and had Rafa beat in 2 hours and 20 minutes.

Even though Nadal, lost pretty badly this was still a good result for him, to make the semi-finals at the US Open. He didn't lose any points from last year and he actually regained his number 2 ranking thanks to Murray losing in the fourth round. I hope that next year he plays with some more aggression though. It's the only thing that will get him past these powerful flat hitting baseliners.

Federer played a good match against Djokovic. He had an acceptable first serve percentage, and had 49 winners to 33 unforced errors. Djokovic, played well too but he didn't have enough winners to make up for the 31 errors. As for the match, it was a lot like their US Open Final in 2007. Djokovic managed to stay competitive with Roger in all 3 sets but in the moments when he needed it most, Roger was able to come up with the answer he needed to take the set. This was a pretty enjoyable match though.

By the way, did any of you guys see Shaq VS last night when he took on Phelps? I would love to see Shaq, take on Andy Roddick or John Isner, in tennis. I think that would be awesome.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Nadal finishes Gonzalez. Serena disqualified from her match!

Well, I don't really have a whole lot to say about the Nadal vs Gonzalez match. Nadal, came out and pretty much dominated Gonzo, right from where they left off. Gonzalez, played terribly in the third set, his forehand was missing constantly and he lost the set and match 7-6, 7-6, 6-0.

Now, as for Serena and Kim Clijsters, I have a lot to say about their match. Ordinarily, I don't comment much about the WTA, so something pretty important has to happen for me to make a post on it. Well, something incredible did happen. Serena, got herself disqualified by verbally abusing a lineswoman after she incorrectly called a foot fault against Serena.

The lineswoman's, call was a bit questionable but Serena just snapped and went off on this woman. Here's the video in case you haven't already seen it:

I think that Serena's reactions during the whole match were inappropriate. She acted more like a bitter, vengeful, maniac than a former 3 time champion. After losing the first set she threw her racquet on the ground, picked it back up, and then proceeded to smash it against the court until it broke. That was just a warm up, for what came next. Starting in the second set Serena, started to get more verbally aggressive. She started using more 'come on's' after winning points against Kim's serve and in between points, she would pace around the baseline, talking to her racquet, with her body language becoming increasingly negative. Finally with the end of the match, in sight, Serena snapped. The line judge called a foot fault against her when she was serving at 15-30, on her second serve. It gave Kim ,two match points, but she never got to play them because Serena went right over to the line judge and started swearing at her and threatened to ram one of the balls up her ass.

The lines judge went over to tell the chair umpire what Serena had told her and the chair umpire motioned for Serena to come over to them. They brought out two officials and Serena basically tried to deny what she had said. They told her she was disqualified and she walked over to shake Kim's hand and then left, with the crowd booing her as she went. In the press conference, after the match, Serena, pretty much denied what she had said but she did later give an apology to the woman on her website.

I was disgusted by what I saw from Serena Williams. Like I said before, she acted more like a bitter, vengeful, woman with a serious anger-management issue, than a 3 time US Open champion. I hope that she is fined for her outburst, and maybe even a temporary ban from some of the tournaments.

Serena's outburst shouldn't be tolerated and what would it say about the WTA if they just allowed one of their players to get away with something like this. It would show where their priorities really are and how little they care about the lines people who are trying to do their job.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mens quarter-finals tennis matches

Well, I was wrong. I really thought that Verdasco would have won the match against Djokovic and I still think that he should have won it. He had two break points/set points when Novak was serving at 4-5 15-40 but he failed to convert one of them. Then he lost the tie-break against Novak but managed to break his serve 3 times in the second set. Then he broke his serve again in the third before Novak returned the favor. Finally, he cramped late in the third set and from that point forward the match was over, Novak easily beat Verdasco after he strained his abdomen winning the fourth set 6-2.

If Verdasco, had won one of those two points at 4-5 he would have been up two sets-to-love at the start of the third set and Novak, probably wouldn't have been able to come back from that. It's kind of too bad that the match ended the way it did, I was hoping for more.

Congrats to Novak for making the semis, for the third straight year. He should give Roger a pretty good match and he definitely has the ability to upset him. I'm sticking with Roger to win it though.

Roger's quarter-final battle with Soderling, turned out to have a very surprising ending. Roger, absolutely dominated Soderling in the first two sets and played some of his vintage best tennis towards the end of the third set but Soderling kept himself, alive in the match by winning his service games in the third set and late in the tie-break he was able to seize advantage of a momentary lapse from Roger, to bring the match to 2 sets to 1. The fourth set also went to a tie-break, and Soderling, was coming on strong. Roger did manage to win the fourth set but only just barely. Soderling, played great after the second set and a match like this proves that he has the ability to beat Roger. He's just going to have to play his best tennis all the way through.

I was kind of disappointed by the Cilic vs Del Potro match. Mostly because Cilic, beat himself. He did a great job taking out Murray in the fourth round but he hit way too many unforced errors against Del Potro. 53 errors to 29 winners is a terrible stat. Del Potro, played well in this match, nothing super special but enough to win pretty cleanly after getting the break back from Cilic in the second set. Cilic, seemed to play more inconsistently as the match went on and only won 3 games in the last two sets.

As for the Nadal vs Gonzalez match, I haven't currently seen the end of it yet, because it's been suspended by rain. So far, Nadal is up 1 set to love and they're in the second set tie-break at 3-2. This match has been extremely entertaining. Gonzalez has been streaky but when his forehand has been on, it's produced some incredible winners. Rafa, has looked good, I think he's playing well enough that if he does win this match, he should be able to over-come Del Potro and make the US Open finals for the first time in his career. I'm not sure how he will do against Djokovic or Federer, in the finals. That's probably going to be the big test for him.

Monday, September 7, 2009

US Open fourth round, Americans are gone and Verdasco looks strong

I hope you guys have been enjoying the tennis matches over Labor day weekend. Some of them were really exciting like Oudin vs Sharapova match and the Verdasco vs Haas match. Others weren't as quite as good, Nadal vs Almagaro and Federer vs Hewitt. Still, I enjoyed watching the matches in general.

Verdasco, has been doing great at the Open. His shot making has been at it's best throughout the tournament and he's managed to make the quarter-finals of a major for the second time in his career. His next opponent is Djokovic and that's going to be a really tough match for him but I actually think he has a chance. Djokovic, probably won't be able to over-power him and he doesn't really have any tools that are tremendously better than Verdasco. If Verdasco, continues his excellent shot-making and serves well, I think he's got a good chance of making the semi-finals.

Federer, started the tournament off in third gear but after losing the first set to Hewitt in his third round match, he's gradually improved his game and he's now playing pretty good tennis. Like before, I think Roger's probably going to win the US Open but if there's one player likely to upset him it's Murray.

Nadal, has seemed to be kind of inconsistent. He looked great in his match against Gasquet but he was broken 5 times when he played Almagaro. Three of those breaks came in the first set.
If he's going to make the semis again, he going to have to improve his first serve percentage and cut back on his unforced errors. He also needs to put some power into his serve and not play as defensively. Gonzalez and Tsonga, are both lurking in his quarter of the draw. They're big hitters who are capable of overpowering Nadal on the faster courts, especially when he's playing too defensively. I'm not sure how Nadal's going to do at this point. Let's wait and see how he does against Gael Monfils.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Marat Safin loses in the first round of his final US Open

In the year 2000 a young Russian player named Marat Safin, upset the tennis world, by dethroning the king of the US Open Pete Sampras, in straight sets. At the time, Safin, was new to the tour and looked to be a very promising player of the future. 9 years later, a grizzled veteran emerged on court, worn out from his surgeries and time spent playing, Safin, had declared this would be his last US Open. His opponent, was Jurgen Melzer. Melzer, had beaten Safin in 3 of their 4 career meetings and despite his lack of achievements at the majors, he was still the favorite in their match. Safin, got off to a powerful start easily taking the first set from Melzer, but Melzer rallied back hard and used his superior fitness and good shot making to win the second and third sets. In the fourth set Safin, tried his best to stay with Melzer, and he was able to keep the set level until he served at 4 games all. Melzer, sensed a weakness and came up with a few extraordinary shots to break Safin. Melzer, then proceeded to serve out the set, both wining the match and ending Safin's career at the majors. Melzer, won their match 1-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.

Marat's, career has had a lot of ups and downs. Some people think that he never lived up to his full potential and that's probably true, especially, because of his injuries. However I feel that he's had a solid career for the most part. Safin, made four grand slam finals and won 2 of them. He also managed to win 5 masters series and made 27 finals throughout his career.

Even if he had been injury free I'm not convinced that he would have been able to win any more slams. Half of his career was during the Federer Nadal era and it's unlikely that he would have been able to break that up and steal a few majors from them, except for the one in 2005.

I think Marat Safin, has a lot to be proud of. He's been able to hold his own against the best players in the world and on his best days, he was capable of beating them. He'll definitely be missed but it's obvious he's ready to go, I hope he finds something else that he enjoys doing to replace tennis.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The US Open 2009 draw

When I first saw this draw I couldn't believe it was for real and I'm not just saying that as a Nadal fan. I mean look at this, it's got to be one of the most difficult draws ever.

Nadal's draw has Gasquet in the first round, Possibly Keifer in the second, Almagaro and Ginepri both lurking in the third round, a possible meeting with Ferrer in the fourth and Berdych or Tsonga in the quarters, with Murray in the semis and Federer in the finals.

Now of course, that's the worst case sinereo but still, that's incredibly hard. Federer, on the other hand has a very easy draw. No tough opponents until Hewitt in the third round and that's really just about it, except for a possible run in with Soderling or Blake in the fourth round and Davydenko in the quarters. Novak Djokovic has Ljubicic in the first round and is in the same quarter as Roddick, same half as Roger. Murray has Del Potro in his quarter and will face Gulbis in the first round.

Based on these draws, I think Roger has a great chance of making the finals, even if he doesn't play his best tennis he should still be able to get there. Rafa's been struggling to get back into his rhythm and based on the hard draw I wouldn't be surprised to see him upset earlier in the tournament. Murray, has Del Potro in his quarter and Djokovic has Roddick. These guys will have to go through each other to get to the semis. That's good for Roger, his biggest competition will be eliminating itself. In fact the more I think about it the more I like Roger's chance of claiming his sixth US Open title. We'll see what happens but for right now I'm going with Roger to win the Open.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Federer wins Cincinatti title over Djokovic

I think this was the closest I've seen to vintage Roger Federer in a long time. His forehand was solid his backhand was solid. His serve was there for him when he needed it and his game was just all-around great. Everything about Roger's game looked good. Djokovic on the other hand was completely off in the first set, Roger completely dominated him and came within two points of bageling Djokovic. In the second set Djokovic, seemingly managed to take quick control. He broke Roger's serve and went up 3-0 only to be broken back his very next service game. Both players held serve from that point on until 5-all when Roger broke Djokovic's serve yet again and served out the match the 6-1, 7-5 to claim his third masters series in Cincinnati.

So now with the US Open being only a week away, I would say that Roger Federer looks to be the strongest contender of the "Big four" or "Big six" if you include Roddick and Del Potro. He finally put an end to his losing streak against Andy Murray by dominating him in the semi-finals. Nole took out Nadal, and Roddick lost to Querrey in the second round. Based on the results of Cincinnati and Fed's recent performance in slams, he is probably the favorite for the Open. However, it's far from a foregone conclusion that Federer will win his 16th major at this US Open. Any one of the guys in the "Big six" could upset him. Even Roddick could do it.

It should be a really good US Open. I'm really looking forward to it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Rafa's knees...are bad!!!!

After watching Nadal's matches against David Ferrer, and Juan Martin Del Potro, I can say with 100% certainty that Rafa knees are in big trouble. I really didn't like what I saw in either match, especially against Ferrer.

Nadal, has made some major changes to his game, since he took time to recover, after the French Open. He's now trying to play a more aggressive game from the baseline, keeping his opponent on the run as much as possible while moving as little as he can and keeping the points shorter. Unfortunately, speed has always been something that he's relied on, it's a critical part of his game and it's the one thing he was definitely lacking in Montreal. Just from watching him, you can see he isn't trying to run down the balls anymore. But that's a problem for his game because his serve isn't good enough to constantly keep him on the attack. Even aggressive players like Roger, have to do some ball retrieving. I realize he's trying to save his knees but he's not going to be able to play offensively all the time against guys like Andy Murray and Roger Federer. If they sense a weakness like that, they'll keep him on the run, at least part of the time and at some point he'll have to take more time off from the tennis season to rest his knees. It sucks that his knees are in such poor condition. If he developed a better serve earlier in his career which could have saved him from having to do all the running, he probably wouldn't be in this situation. I don't know why Rafa never placed more importance on developing his serve, surely he didn't think his knees would hold up under that kind of abuse forever. Why didn't his Uncle work with him on this important part of his game? The serve is important on every surface except clay. And why was he over-booking himself during the clay court season. Just to maintain his ranking? Why not cut out a tournament during the clay court season and replace it with one in the US Open series. That way he would have been more warmed up for the US Open and less tired for Roland Garros. Some of his scheduling doesn't make sense to me.

I hope Nadal, does find a way to improve his serve and ball placement, his movement wasn't good in Montreal but he hasn't played a match in over two months, so I'll cut him some slack on that. I wish him the best of luck and I would love to see him find a way to deal with his tendinitis and still win majors. Rafa's probably the mentally strongest person on tour, so if anyone can find a way to deal with this injury, it'll be him.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Montreal Finals: Andy Murray defeats Juan Martin Del Potro

This was a strange match. Del Potro, seemed to be tired from his 3 set semi-final match against Andy Roddick. He took so much time, between points that the umpire gave him several warnings, for time abuse. But he still played great in the first two sets and stayed completely even with Murray, narrowly winning the first set tie-break thanks to an unforced error from Murray, and then narrowly losing the second set. By the very end of the second set it became obvious that Del Potro was running out of steam. He took an extensively long injury time-out after the second set. Murray, complained to the umpire about the amount of time Del Potro was taking and the umpire said he would deal with it. Murray, seemed to be angry with Del Potro for taking so much time and the sports commentators said that Murray and Del Potro had somewhat of a bitter rivalry going back to their jr. days. Murray started to play more aggressively in the third set, and thorougly dominated Del Potro, eventually taking the the set and match 6-1.

Final thoughts: This was a good match. Both guys played in top form, for most of it and Del Potro in particular served great. One side note, the sports commentators were extremely annoying. They kept calling Del Potro "Del Po" or "The big man" I guess that's their way of trying to add color commentary but it just came off as stupid. I swear they get the worst people to commentate at the US Open series tournaments.XP

Monday, August 10, 2009

Monday in Montreal

Today, I've decided to try something different, I'm going to post a review on the matches that I saw and rate them based on how enjoyable I thought they were.

Mikhail Youzhny vs Marin Cilic

Unfortunately, I missed the first set of this match, so I can't say much about it, other than Marin won it fairly comfortably 6-3. The second set was much closer, Youzhny and Cilic exchanged breaks of serve late in the second set, then Youzhny broke serve again and went to serve out the set at 6-5 but despite having 5 set points, Youzhny wasn't able to do it and Cilic broke him to take the set to a tie-break. Once, in the tie-break Youzhny seized command and ran away with it 7-4. In the final set, Youzhny got an early break against Cilic, and never looked back, he closed out the final set easily 6-1.

Winner: Mikhail Youzhny 3-6, 7-6, 6-1.

Thoughts on the match: While, I enjoyed this one, I would have preferred some more consistent play from both of these guys. Cilic, pretty much self-destructed in the third set and it was kind of sad to see. He may be a good player with a lot of talent but he's going to need to work on his mental strength if he's going to be a serious force on tour. Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Kunitsyn vs Niemeyer

This one was really good, even despite the large number of unforced errors. Both of these guys came up with jaw dropping winners and Niemeyer's huge serve was especially impressive, which he used to bail himself out of trouble against Kunitsyn. The first set of this match was very close, with Niemeyer just edging out Kunitsyn 7-5. Then, Niemeyer, on the verge of a massive upset, dominated Kunitsyn in the second set and took the second set and match 6-1. Niemeyer, now 33 years old, plans to retire after this year, his opponent in the next round is Roger Federer. Niemeyer, is ranked outside the top 400 so his match against Roger could be his last one.

Final thoughts on the match: Good quality stuff, no real complaints although I was hoping it would go to 3 sets. 4 out of 5 stars.

Bruno Agostinelli vs Peter Polanski

Polanski, dominated the beginning of the match, going up 3-0 but Bruno broke back at 1-3 and held serve to level the set at 3-all. Polanski, then re-gained control and took the first set 6-3.
A rain delay occurred early in the second set and forced a time delay. Once play resumed, the players took the second set to a tie-break which Polanski won 8 points to 6, to seal the victory.

Final thoughts on the match: I enjoyed this one as well. Especially the second set. Polanski, seems like a good player and his fore-hand is nice. He's scheduled to meet Djokovic in the next round, be sure to watch that one it should be an exciting match. Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Stanislas Wawrinka vs Nicolas Kiefer

This one was a good match too. Wawrinka, had some great shot making and was always in control of this match. Once the first set was over, so was the match. Wawrinka, easily defeated Kiefer 6-4, 6-1.

Final thoughts on the match: Stan played a near flawless match. His shot making was just incredible at times and Kiefer was completely out-classed. 4 out of 5 stars.

There were a lot of good matches today. Oh and I forgot to mention, Nadal made a successful return to the tour, winning his doubles match against Djokovic and Vemic. Although, I wasn't able to see the match, I was glad to hear that he made it through without his knees bothering him. Hope they hold up well during the rest of the week.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Nadal to return in Montreal, Querrey wins first title of 2009,

Sam Querrey, has now gained the lead in the US Open series by defeating Carsten Ball in the finals of the LA Open. The match went all the way to 3 sets but Sam took the third set handily 6-1. This was a really important match for Sam. If he had lost here, it would have been the third time in a row that he lost in the finals to a lesser ranked opponent. Which brings up the question, does Sam Querrey have choking problems? Let's see how he does in Montreal, next week. The competition will be more difficult and if Sam, is able to consistently prove himself against tougher competition, it would indicate that he's making a break through in his career.

Speaking of Montreal, Nadal has announced to the press that he will make his return to the tour next week in the Roger's Cup. His uncle Toni, said that doesn't expect Nadal, to be at 100%, since he has not fully resumed his training. Nadal's performance in Montreal should answer a lot of questions about his tendinitis. Whether the rest has helped him or if the torn cartilage is too much for even Rafa to over-come. I hope to see him play great but I'm a little bit doubtful at this point.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Nike bandana review

I'm making this review for everyone interested in buying a Nike bandana but isn't sure whether it's worth the money or not. I hope this review will answer most of the questions that you have about the swoosh and dri-fit bandanas.

First of all, I do own the bandanas, several of the dri-fit and a couple of cotton ones as well, I don't have any head-tie bandanas yet but I am planning on getting one in the future so I'll add my opinion about them when I get around to buying one. There are also Yonex and Addidas bandanas which I don't own, so I'm not sure what they're like by comparison.

Nike cotton bandana:

Fit: It's basically fits and feels like any typical bandana, it's 100% cotton and has a nike swoosh painted on the front.

Comfort: I think these bandanas are very comfortable, it's thin though, so if you sweat a lot you will probably have to wash it every other practice session.

Is it worth the price? Well as I said before there is absolutely no difference between this and a traditional bandana and since a normal bandana can typically be purchased for around a dollar, it wouldn't seem like a very good deal but they are very stylish and great quality, so I would strongly recommend them if you're willing to put up a few more dollars for style.

Side note: The white bandana gets dirty really easily. It's hard to keep clean and even harder to get the stains out of it. You'll probably have to wash this one the most of all the bandanas and while it's probably the nicest one, it's also the hardest by far to keep clean.

Nike Dri-fit bandana:

Fit: This one is bigger and thicker than the cotton bandana. It absorbs sweat better than the cotton one.

Comfort: This one is, also very comfortable but it does feel a little bit tight, when you tie it and because of the bulkiness I think the cotton bandana may be slightly more comfortable but both are still very good.

Is it worth the price: I think with this one it depends mostly on your preference for the fit of the bandana. If you like a slightly bulkier fit, you will probably like this one. I would probably recommend trying the cotton swoosh bandana first and if you like that one, then consider buying one of these.

Over-all I prefer the cotton one, just a little bit more than the Dri-fit bandana. Thanks for reading my article, please let me know if you agree with me.:)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Early predictions for the US Open

Even though the US Open is nearly a month away, I've decided to post my early predictions for the last major of the year. I say early, because they may still change, it's impossible to know what will happen with Nadal, how he'll feel and whether he will even play in the US Open. So for this prediction I won't be including him.

Here are some of the serious contenders for the 2009 US Open title:

1. Roger Federer: This guy has won the US Open 5 times in a row. He's obviously a huge favorite. But this year things could be different, he just recently became a father and shortly before that, he broke Sampras's record of 14 grand slams. Roger's biggest obstacle this year may be his focus rather than his competition. If I'm wrong and he comes to the Open with more determination then ever to win, I really don't see anyone who could stop him, except for maybe Andy Murray. Prediction: Roger wins his sixth US Open.

2. Andy Murray: Last years finalist, is still the guy most likely to upset Roger. He wasn't ready before but he might be now. It will take everything Andy's got to beat Roger but he is capable of doing it. He's won the last four matches against Roger and they have all been on hard courts, but he's never beaten Federer on a big occasion at a major. Andy is going to have to do that, before he can be considered a legitimate rival to Roger. Prediction: Murray finishes runner-up but there is a chance for him to win.

3. Andy Roddick: Even though Andy Roddick, has been out recently with a shoulder injury, he's still a favorite to win the US Open. In July he beat Andy Murray to make the finals at Wimbledon and I really felt that he should have taken the final from Roger. He was unlucky to lose that match. If Roddick plays at the US like he played in the Wimbledon final, he will win the US Open. Otherwise look for him to make the second week. Prediction: Semi-finals if he plays normally, champion if he plays his best.

4. Novak Djokovic: It seems like Novak has been on a steady decline since winning the Masters Cup last year. He's number 4 on my list only because he's the #4 player in the world, I don't think his chance of winning is very good. He desperately needs a resurgence and winning this title would give it to him, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him retire during a match later in the tournament. Prediction: Quarterfinals or earlier.

5. Juan Martin Del Potro: He's a promising up and comer. He took Federer, to five sets at the French and probably came within a few points of winning Roland Garros (assuming he had beaten Soderling in the finals). Maybe in another year or two he will be ready to win his first major. At some point I think it's going to happen for him. Prediction: Maybe this is a little extreme, but I'm going to say Quarter-finals.

Other people to look out for:

Tommy Haas: He's having a career resurgence right now. Some people think he's playing the best tennis of his career. He's not the person that comes to mind when you think champion but he could cause a few upsets. Prediction: I'll go out on a limb and say Semi-finals.

Jo Wilfried Tsonga: He has a big, serve and power ground strokes, he's also a former Australian Open finalist. This guy could make a deep run in the tournament. Prediction: Fourth round.

Robin Soderling: Much like the player above, Soderling has all the right tools to cause an upset. Big serve and powerful ground strokes, can he duplicate his success at Roland Garros? Prediction: Fourth round.

Fernando Verdasco: He plays well on the hard courts and he took Roddick to five sets 3 years ago. He made the semi-finals at the Australian Open this year and he has the potential to upset some of the higher seeded players. Prediction: Quarter-finals.

I was going to include Sam Querrey on this list but after watching him choke against Ginepri, I don't know about his chance. He's a question mark for right now.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Indiannapolis Finals Sam Querrey vs Robby Ginepri review

Usually Robby Ginepri, is not known for his consistency but I'll give him credit, he played a solid match, Sam Querrey, on the other hand, played atrociously. His first serve percentage was very low and he missed way too many shots, making the quality of this match (especially in the first set) pretty bad. Things picked up a bit in the second set. There were a few extended rallies and Ginepri showed off his shot making ability, Sam started to play better but quickly reverted back to his old ways at 4-all when he gifted Ginepri a break by double faulting. Ginepri, then pulled through his next service game to win the match 6-2, 6-4.

As I said before this wasn't a real great match, I think the pressure got to Sam and he choked it away. This should provide a confidence boost for Ginepri and puts him in serious contention for winning the US Open series. I was disappointed by Sam's performance and I hope to see more from him next time.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Nike 2009 Fall line...with dots

Ordinarily Nike is one of my favorite tennis brands. They've got great quality clothes and most of the time their stuff looks awesome but I've been pretty disappointed by most of what they've released in 2009. It's been a very strange year from them, to say the least:

To stay consistent with their strange patterns. Nike is releasing new clothes for the fall, with dots.

Ordinarily Nike is one of my favorite tennis brands. They've got great quality clothes and most of the time their stuff looks awesome but I've been pretty disappointed by most of what they've released in 2009. It's been a very strange year from them, to say the least:

Now some of this stuff is not bad, the colors are pretty nice, especially the gold and I kind of like the shoes:

And this polo is nice too.

But part of the reason I like them is because ot the absense of the dots. Maybe, I'll pick up a few of these when they're on clearance but for the most part I'm not too impressed with what I see. Hopefully they'll have some better stuff in 2010.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Favorite tennis You tube videos

In my opinion, You Tube is one of the best places to go if you want to watch tennis videos. Well, it's probably one of the best places for free videos period. Yesterday, I came across a few vids that I really liked and I thought I'd share them with you, so I've created a top 5 count down of my favorite You Tube tennis videos.

Here they are:

#5: Tennis player kills pigeon

And you thought Roger's forehand was precise.

This one's funny, although I feel kind of sorry for the bird. Lol.

#4: Andy Murray warming up...sort of

Not really a whole lot to do with tennis but I like this for the amusement factor. Doesn't Murray's hair kind of remind you of Kuerten?

#3 Pros warming up

Ok, I'm sort of cheating with this one because I'm using two videos. I like this video of Nadal warming up, the music fits in well with the video.

But this one of Gael Monfils is better. It's also filmed from a court-side view which is cool. I find videos like this to be useful for improving my game. You can learn a lot just by watching a pro.

#2 Nick Bollettieri on Donald Young

This is a pretty good video. Nick Bollettieri has trained some great players in the past like Becker, Agassi, and Hingis. More recently he trained Sharapova and Jankovic. He does seem a little skeptical of Donald's career but that's another story in itself. All in all I like this one because it gives you an inside look, for the life of an up and coming tennis player.

And my #1 choice is:

Bret Abel tennis videos

These videos are great, they're fun to watch and he gives a lot of good advice to help improve your technique. Sort of like a free tennis lesson. There are a few other tutorial videos on You Tube, which are also worth checking out as well.

Anyway, those are my top 5 favorite videos. I hope you enjoyed this post, feel free to comment and let me know what you think.