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Murray Wins Montreal – U.K. Declares Bank Holiday

Ok, the U.K. will not have a bank holiday to celebrate Andy Murray winning the Rogers Cup in Montreal. (Although I’m sure if Murrary wins Wimbledon some kind of national holiday would be declared.) Murray defeated Juan Martin Del Potro 6-7(4), 7-6(3), 6-1.

The match itself wasn’t the most scintillating thing I’ve ever seen. Murray played defense while JMDP kept unleashing atomic powered forehands whenever he could. Murray lost the first set in a breaker and things cruised along in the second until JMDP started having serving problems at the 4-5 game. He got up 40-love then figured out a way to get it to deuce before finally holding serve. Murray got it into a tiebreaker again and the serving woes continued for Del Potro.

JMDP then took a medical timeout to have treatment on his back, though I’m not sure what the exact problem was. But whether it was injury or fatigue, JMDP simply went away as Murray jumped out to 4-0 lead and then closed it out 6-1.

I thought JMDP had a good chance to win it and he really did overpower Murray with his ground game, especially the forehand. But Murray makes everyone hit one extra shot and players get so fed up that they go for that big winner — and miss.

Murray will move up to number two in the world whereas Del Potro should move up a spot to number five. Next week is Cincinnati and according to the draw Murray and Del Potro could meet in the quarters if they hold up. Hopefully Del Potro’s injury isn’t too severe as his play this summer gives him a great chance going into the U.S. Open which, unbelievably, is two weeks away.

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Safina to face Jankovic in Cincy Final

Dinara Safina continues her consistent play by reaching the finals of the Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open. (say that four times fast) She handily beat rising star Flavia Pennettta 6-2, 6-0. Pennetta, who admitted to being tired after a lot of play this summer, will enter the top ten next week, being the first Italian women to do so.

Safina will play in the finals Jelena Jankovic who survived an almost three hour slug fest against Elena Dementieva. J.J. won 7-6, (2), 0-6, 7-6 (6) after she blew three match points in the third set and then was down 4-6 in the breaker, before somehow pulling through in the end.

I thought Jankovic could make her way into the final this week but if she will have enough left against Safina remains to be seen. I expect Safina to win, but that is never a sure thing.

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Rogers Cup: Murray Claims #2; Del Potro Survives

In semifinal action today at the Rogers Cup in Montreal, Andy Murray made it into the finals with a 6-4, 7-6 (8) over Jo-Wilifred Tsonga. Murray now will rise to #2 in the world on Monday since he will eclipse Rafael Nadal in points since Rafa lost early this week.

Of course all this could change next week if for some reason Murray loses early in Cincinnati, which he won last year, and Nadal wins the tournament, but for me to crunch the numbers would take too long. It is the first time in four years that the Federer/Nadal juggernaut of the top two positions has changed.

The next match was Roddick vs. Del Potro. This played almost like last weekend’s final in D.C. First set went to Roddick 6-4 after JMDP made too many errors while serving 4-5. In the second set, Roddick couldn’t find his serve or keep a ball in the court, allowing Del Potro to jump out to a 4-0 lead, eventually winning the set 6-2.

The third set was even throughout. Roddick tried to keep the points short while Del Potro won most of the long rallies. With Del Potro serving at 4-5, he missed a forehand volley to go down 0-15 and then couldn’t find his first serve, allowing Roddick a match point at 30-40. But then Del Potro found his first serve and eventually held. In the next game, Roddick had serving troubles and lost his serve, smashing his raquet. Del Potro went on to hold serve and win the final set 7-5.

Roddick is now 0-3 against Del Potro. Roddick better hope that Del Potro shows up on the other side of the draw at the U.S. Open.

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Safina redeems herself in win over Clijsters

With all the shock and dismay over Roger Federer losing a massive lead on Jo-Wilifred Tsonga yesterday, down in Cincinnati, the other world number one, Dinara Safina, actually put in a routine, yet impressive performance, to finally end Kim Clijsters’ run. Safina won 6-2, 7-5.

Clijsters said after the match that she thought Safina played some of the best tennis she’s ever seen. Despite the loss, Clijsters is definitely back and will be a dangerous floater at the U.S. Open.

Who knows if Safina felt the pressure of the continuing dispute about her ranking? If anything, it does show that Safina is probably the most consistent player on the tour. And that’s what the WTA ranking system rewards more than winning a Slam or two each year.

Next up for Safina is Flavia Pennetta who continues to have a great summer after winning in L.A. last week. In the other semi, Jelena Jankovic, who has done nothing this year, will face Elena Dementieva.

Prediction for the finals: Safina v. Jankovic.

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WTF? Fed Loses?, Murray Likely #2? – Wacky Rogers Cup Rolls On

It seemed a week ago that all were hailing Roger Federer the “GOAT”. Well Fed got his goat cooked today by the wiley and always unpredictable Jo-Wilifred Tsonga who managed an unbelievable comeback to win 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-6(3).

Now I didn’t watch the match, but I kept track online for most of it. I chalked up Fed losing the first set to still being rusty after Wimbledon. But when he cruised to win the second set 6-1 and was up, wait for it, 5-1 in the third, I logged off and went about my day.

When I went online for the results and saw that Tsonga had won, I naturally said “WTF?”. Tsonga could be on his way to another dramatic Masters tourney win like he had in Paris back in November.

Next up for Tsonga is Andy Murray who took care of Nikolay Davydenko 6-2, 6-4. One has to like Murray in this one, but I’m sure the crowd will be behind Tsonga.

If Murray gets into the finals, he will then become world #2 as Rafael Nadal lost tonight to Juan Martin Del Potro 7-6, 6-1. I can’t even remember when Nadal has not been at least #2? It feels like he just arrived on tour a few years ago and they gave him #2 as his starting ranking.

Meanwhile on the undercard, Andy Roddick continued his impressive summer by defeating Novak Djokovic 6-4, 7-6. That now makes three wins in a row for Roddick over “Nole”. Next up will be a rematch of the Legg Mason final when Roddick faces Del Potro. Again, this could go either way.

Prediction. Murray vs. Roddick in the finals.

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Rogers Cup Quarters – Preview

Apparently the men’s quarters at the Rogers Cup is some sort of historic milestone as it’s the first time that all top eight seeds have made it in an ATP event since 1973. What it does offer is a chance to break down the top eight players in the world and their chance for the title.

Nadal vs. Del Potro
So far, Nadal has had a dream tourney in the sense that he only played seven games against David Ferrer and won rather easily against Phillip Petzschner today. Now he faces Juan Martin Del Potro fresh off of his win of the Legg Mason tournament last week.

I think this match all depends on JMDP. If he can hold up physically, then he should edge Nadal who I don’t think is 100%. But a lot could happen if it goes to a third set. So I’ll say Del Potro in three.

Roddick v. Djokovic

This could go either way. Djokovic has cruised so far while Roddick had a tough three setter against Verdasco. Unless it gets really hot, or there’s some weird medical issue, Djokovic should win. But for some reason I like Roddick. So I’ll say Roddick in three.

Murray v. Davydenko
This will be the rubber match as both players are 4 to 4 lifetime against each other. Who wants it more? Davydenko, who after the whole gambling controversy and foot injury, wants to prove he’s still in the mix. Or Murray, who has shot at the number two ranking and loves the hard courts? Why am I seeing Davydenko in two tiebreaks?

Federer v. Tsonga.
Federer in two quick sets. Next.

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The Most Important Match of the Year for Safina

Kim Clijsters keeps her impressive comeback rolling along with a tough three set win over sixth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 4-6, 6-2. I consider this a mild upset as “Sveta” is just returning to the game after a foot injury and lack of playing time since Wimbledon.

Now Clijsters gets to play world number one Dinara Safina in the quarters and I have to give Clijsters a big shot to win this one. Safina has played shaky tennis for the last few weeks. Plus the continued talk about if Safina is truly number one will add pressure to her. And let’s face it. She hasn’t handled big moments well this year. If Safina can win this match, she will at least prove she deserves the ranking. If she doesn’t, man will she hear about it.

On the other side of the argument, Serena Williams did little to help her case, losing to Sybille Bammer 5-7, 4-6, in an error-filled match. Serena has not found her game yet this summer and I doubt she will win a tournament before the Open.

One to watch – Jelena Jankovic. Jankovic has finally been putting in some good wins in Cincy this week and could well win the whole thing if more seeds drop out.

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