Tag Archives: Fernando Verdasco

“Bubble Boys” on Road to London Finale.

Quick update on the race among the ATP men to qualify for the Barclays ATP Finals in London. Even with his semifinal loss in Valencia, Nikolay Davydenko is all but assured of qualifying for the seventh spot. His closest rival, Fernando Verdasco, also lost in the Valenica semis so he’ll have to win a few rounds in Paris this week just to make sure he’s in.

The other “bubble boys” chasing them include Robin Soderling, Jo-Wilifred Tsonga and Fernando Gonzalez who will need to get the Paris finals to go past Davydenko and Gonzalez while Radek Stepanek and Marin Cilic will need to not only win Paris, but have Verdasco lose first round just to maybe qualify. Good luck with that.

Gilles Simon and Tommy Robredo who lost early in Basel are out of contention.

Click here for the full points breakdown.

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Roddick Out, Oudin In, Verdasco Close.

Roddick out of Paris.
Andy Roddick’s knee injury is either more serious than he’s letting on or he’s just playing it safe for 2010. Either way, he’s withdrawn from the Paris Masters next week according to ESPN.com. He’s still officially playing the Barclays ATP Masters in London but I doubt he’ll be a factor.

Oudin Leads the U.S. Fed Cup Team.
Remember when Serena Williams said she would play the penultimate Federation Cup tie against Italy even if she had “to play in a wheelchair”. Well Serena backed out of that promise last week and so now it’s to American phenom Melanie Oudin to lead the charge this weekend. In an earlier post, I didn’t think it was fair to let Serena in the final due to her lack of commitment for U.S. Fed Cup all year. Despite playing on red clay, I still give the Americans a chance as they’ve been underdogs all year.

Gasquet, Wickmayer and Agassi Playing Defensive.
In what seems a tidal wave of stories about drug use and doping, this past week saw the withdrawal of rising Belgian star Yanina Wickmayer out of the WTA Bali event after she was given a one-year suspension for failing to show up for three drug tests in a row though she plans to appeal. Xavier Malisse was handed a similar ban and in his press conference he cried through tears that this could be the end of his career. Richard Gasquet is set to defend himself before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland for his alleged “cocaine kiss” incident. The ITF and WADA still seek a one or two year ban for Gasquet though an independent bureau cleared him for play in August. And of course, Andre Agassi is set to defend himself and his book “Open” on 60 Minutes this weekend. Not exactly the best way to end the year for the sport.

Verdasco on the Verge.
And yes the ATP Masters points race still has some drama left as Fernando Verdasco and Nikolay Davydenko appear to be in good shape to secure the final two remaining spots as both have reached the semifinals of the Valencia event.

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Roddick Locks in Spot for London Finale.

Despite having not won a singles match since his second round at the U.S. Open, Andy Roddick earned the sixth spot for the Barclays ATP Finale in London today.

“The reaction I received from fans after the Wimbledon final was something I will never forget. I’ve always had great support in London and I’m looking forward to being back there in November. I’m sure it will be a fantastic event,” said Roddick.

Though he had to pull out of Shanghai with a bad knee, Roddick’s London chances were helped immensely by early round losses in Shanghai by Fernando Verdasco, Fernando Gonazlez and Jo-Wilifred Tsonga who are still chasing the final spot.

I say “final” because with his Shanghai win and upcoming schedule, Nikolay Davydenko is all but assured of claiming the seventh spot for London.

Who do you think will claim the final spot for London?

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Safin’s Asia Love-In Ends at Shanghai.

Marat Safin’s love affair with Asia continues. Even though he lost his second round match in Shanghai to Tomas Berdych 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, he was the one asked to hit the autographed tennis balls into the stands. Of course there was another mini-ceremony at the end with video of Safin back in his “movie idol” days with the appropriate “Wild Thing” as the soundtrack. Safin did take time to thank all of the fans in both Beijing and Shanghai for their support.

Meanwhile, injuries and the debate over them continues to mar the event. Juan Martin Del Potro and Tommy Haas both retired in their matches. Rafael Nadal, who joined Andy Roddick in complaining about the tour’s grueling schedule, looked ok in his win over James Blake.

Lleyton Hewitt, who knows a thing or two about injuries, lost a tough three setter to Gael Monfils 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. Monfils who wavered between playing fifteen feet behind the baseline to then coming up with vicious forehand winners finally decided on an attacking style of play that saw him the last six games of the third set.

Other winners included Robin Soderling, Tommy Robredo, Gilles Simon and Novak Djovokic. Ivan Ljubicic scored the biggest upset of the day taking out Fernando Verdasco.

Tomorrow’s key match ups will be Soderling/Tsonga and Gonzalez/Davydenko as all are trying to make it to London.

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Shangahi Masters Preview.

Since early round play in the ATP Shanghai Masters 1000 event has kicked off, I will do a very quick preview.

Obviously the main interest will be who will qualify next for London but I think whoever wins Shanghai will get a much needed boost into 2010.

Andy Roddick just needs to win a round or two to qualify for London but that won’t be easy. His first match will either be against Lukasz Kubot who took him out in Beijing or Stanislas Wawrinka who as we all know can beat anybody or lose to anybody depending on his mood. If Roddick survives that, he could potentially face either Fernando Gonzalez or Nikolay Davydenko in the quarters and I like Roddick against either of those guys.

Novak Djokovic in his section could face Tommy Haas early and then find himself up against Gilles Simon or Marin Cilic in the quarters. But Djokovic feeds off confidence and I see him getting through his section and facing Roddick in the semis where I actually like Djokovic in that one.

Fernando Verdasco and Gael Monfils must do well in Shanghai if they want to qualify for London. They are both in Nadal’s section and I like their chances of maybe getting through to the semis as Nadal still looks shaky to me.

On the bottom draw is Juan Marin Del Potro who could face off against Jo-Wilifred Tsonga in the quarters. Del Potro should be well rested after getting bounced first round in Tokyo. Tsonga needs another strong event but I can’t seem him winning two titles back to back.

So for the semis, I’m going with Roddick/Djokovic in one and Verdasco/Del Portro in the other potentially setting up a Djokovic/Del Porto final. But of course it’s the end of the year so maybe John Isner will use his new muay thai skills to blow everybody away.

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China Open Preview – Can Andy Repeat?

With the China Open starting today for the ATP players, let’s take a quick look at what’s at stake for the top players.

Rafael Nadal is the top seed here and probably the favorite depending on how he holds up physically. He’s had a good break since the U.S. Open and not playing in Davis Cup certainly added to his recovery time.

Nadal’s side of the draw could be tricky as he could face James Blake in an early match and then Fernando Gonzalez in the quarters. His biggest test could be #4 seed Nikolay Daveydenko, fresh off getting his third title win of the year at Kuala Lumpur, in the semis.

Watch out for Marin Cilic who got a wildcard into the draw. He’s playing with a lot of confidence and could sneak a few upsets in.

In the other half of the draw is #2 seed Novak Djokovic. Djokovic is coming into the Asia swing of the tour after enduring criticism all year that he’s not living up to his true potential.

His draw should be easy going although he could face red-hot Victor Troicki early on and then possibly Fernando Verdasco in the quarters. My feeling is Djokovic will play as well as he feels like and could bow out early if his mind isn’t all there.

And there’s the #3 seed Andy Roddick. The event’s defending champion, Roddick could certainly use a repeat win here to get over his sub-par summer and losing early at the U.S. Open. Roddick’s got a fairly easy draw until he may have to face Robin Soderling in the quarters. Soderling is 2-0 against Roddick, but they haven’t played in over a year so anything could happen. If Roddick can squeeze past Soderling, I like his chances against possibly Djokovic in the semis.

So who will win? I’m looking for a Nadal/Roddick final which could be a treat, with Roddick winning in three tough sets.

For more info on the event, click here.

P.S. Yes, I know the WTA ladies are playing at the same time, but to give predictions on that side would be futile considering all the wacky play going on. I’ll go on a limb and pick Elena Dementieva to win it all.

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Day 8 Predix – Can Oudin Pull Off the Hat Trick?

Some quick thoughts on the key Day 8 matchups at the U.S. Open.

Melanie Oudin vs. Nadia Petrova

Oudin has won her last two matches over Dementieva and Sharapova by displaying tremendous heart and grit, but also due to those players helping out by not attacking the American more. Petrova is a solid player and will not let Oudin jerk her around the court. If Petrova holds her serve and keeps the crowd out of it, Petrova should win in two sets.

John Isner vs. Fernando Verdasco

Both men endured five set matches in their last round so fitness could be an issue. Verdasco is also suffering from an abdominal strain so he is spinning his serve in, so Isner should have a decent shot at returning. As long as Isner can not have a letdown after beating Roddick and can keep serving big, Isner should win in four.

Roger Federer vs. Tommy Robredo

Unless Federer displays more non-brilliant play like he did against Lleyton Hewitt for a set, Federer should win this in three easy sets.

Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Caroline Wozniacki

Both players here have a great opportunity to make it all the way to the finals as their side of the draw is wide open. Wozniacki has been hyped for some time but never quite lived it up to it all. “Sveta” can beat anyone, anywhere but her motivation has always been questioned. I think Sveta is ready to prove she can challenge for majors anywhere and will win this is three tough sets.

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