Tag Archives: Gael Monfils

ATP Crystal Ball for 2010.

2010 will be a transition year for the ATP Tour even though the winners may look the same. Here are my predictions for the ATP men again ranked where I think they will end up at year’s end.

1. Roger Federer. To think that “Fed” won’t win another Slam or two next year is highly unlikely. Federer’s consistency week in and week out will help keep his top ranking intact. But this could be his last year of total domination. The real question for Federer, especially after winning the French Open, is what will motivate him to keep going after winning everything. Maybe a chance at a true Grand Slam?

2. Juan Martin Del Potro. That’s right. The big man from Argentina will be chasing Federer all year. Injuries and still a nagging lack of belief could hinder him but I expect Delpo to win another Slam. Could the French be next?

3. Novak Djokovic. The “Falcon” has returned with the fire and belief that was lost for most of 2009. He could win a Slam but he’ll have to keep up the balancing act between being “the class clown” and his intensity which rubs some fans the wrong way. Look for him to come into Australia with a vengeance.

4. Rafael Nadal. I know. I know. The Nadal fans are going to attack me for this but I believe that the Nadal “mystique” is over and the top guys on tour have finally figured out how to play him. I like him in the French for sure but how his body holds up will be the story next year.

5. Andy Murray. I don’t understand the obsession with Murray. He’s a talented player but it’s been proven if you attack him ala Marin Cilic, Roger Federer you will win. His mental toughness is still an issue and he needs a big shot to help him win cheap points. I’m still not convinced Murray has the game to win a Slam. He’ll get close, maybe even a final, but I doubt he’ll win one next year.

6. Nikolay Davydenko. Is this the year the hardest working man on tour finally wins a Slam? Maybe. He certainly proved in Shanghai and the ATP Finals that he can beat anyone especially with his improved serve and net play. But how he holds up in best 3 of 5 matches is the real question. Plus, will fans finally get behind the “unsexy” Russian? I like his chances in Australia better than anywhere else.

7. Andy Roddick. As the ’09 Wimbledon final was a defining match for Roddick, I feel like 2010 is the last hope for him to win one more Slam. He’s in great shape more or less (unless the knee becomes a bigger issue) and coach Larry Stefanki has got him playing better, but if he’s going to do it, this is it. Maybe the U.S. Open?

8. Robin Soderling The lanky Swede proved his French Open runner-up spot was no fluke as he continued his strong play late in the season. He certainly believes he can beat the top players, but does he have the game to prevail in the later stages, especially against Federer? He might get close this year at the Slams but I don’t see him breaking through yet.

9 through 15. Take your pick. Tsonga, Verdasco, Gonzalez, Simon, Monfils, Haas. All these guys have gotten close but no cigar. 2010 could be their “this is it” moment to finally breakthrough. But don’t count on it. Anyone of them could make a Slam final but Jelena Jankovic has more chances than these guys.

Wildcards – Sam Querrey. Querrey certainly had a decent 2009 and I can see him getting into the top 15 but winning a Slam feels out of reach.

Marin Cilic – Could the super tall Croat have a Del Potro like year and finally break into the top 10? Watch out for him at Wimbledon where his big serve and volley game should pay dividends.

Lleyton Hewitt – With his health restored, Hewitt finds himself back in the top 20 again. Can he finally win the Australian Open? Sure, if Federer gets knocked out early.

Richard Gasquet – Now that he’s back on tour, 2010 will be the year when we find out if he has what it takes to get back into the top 10 or just be the punchline to one of the more bizarre storylines of 2009.

James Blake – For all the talent, Blake has never lived up to his potential. Something could happen, but I wouldn’t be surprised if 2010 is his last year.

John Isner – He’s got the big serve and had a breakthrough win against Andy Roddick at the U.S. Open but he needs a bigger game overall if wants to even crack into the top 20.

David Nalbandian – He finally returns after enduring hip surgery. But has the highly talented Argentine been eclipsed by the younger Del Potro?

Plenty of other players I could mention as well with their own chances at glory next year. Let me know what you think!

3 Comments

Filed under ATP, Tennis

Djokovic Ends Year With Paris Title.

Remember way back at the Australian Open in January when Novak Djokovic took a lot of “heat” (pun intended) for retiring to Andy Roddick in the quarters? People started to question Djokovic’s desire and conditioning and if he really wanted to stay among the elite in the game.

Well something has clicked in now because Djokovic won his second title in a row and fifth of the year after defeating an inspired Gael Monfils 6-2, 5-7, 7-6 (3) at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris.

With all the talk of Rafael Nadal and briefly Andy Murray challenging Roger Federer for the top spot, it’s safe to say 2010 could be the year for the “falcon” to rise even higher.

What do you think?

Comments Off on Djokovic Ends Year With Paris Title.

Filed under ATP, Tennis

The “Falcon” Versus “LaMonf” in Paris.

The last regular season match of the year could be a tasty one as Novak Djokovic goes for a second title in a row when he faces local favorite Gael Monfils in the finals of the BNP Paribas Masters event in Paris.

Djokovic thrashed Rafael Nadal in the semifinals 6-2, 6-3 and was in sterling form hitting 31 winners in the match.

Meanwhile Gael Monfils survived a three set test from Radek “The Worm” Stepanek winning 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 and will seek his second title of the year after winning a few weeks ago in Metz.

Cruising through the entire tournament, Djokovic has regained the fire and intensity that was missing from his game all year. “The Falcon” is 3-0 against Monfils and I like his chances despite going up against the speedy Monfils and the Paris crowd.

This is the second year in a row that a Frenchman has made it to the finals after Jo Wilfred-Tsonga did so last year. With the recent success of the French players playing indoors, perhaps the French Open, if it does get a roof either at Roland Garros or elsewhere, should just get rid of the clay too.

Just kidding. Sort of.

2 Comments

Filed under ATP, Tennis

ATP Players on the “London Bubble” Battle This Week.

This week several hopefuls for the final spot at the ATP Barclays Finale in London will do battle against each other this week. All these events are ATP 250 so a title win is a must for those on the London “bubble”. In my recent poll, most of you said Fernando Verdasco would grab the final spot followed by Robin Soderling.

In Lyon, Jo-Wilifred Tsonga and good friend Gilles Simon head up the field there while in Vienna, Marin Cilic, who bounced out of Shanghai in the first round, looks to get his momentum back against such players as Gael Monfils and Radek Stepanek.

St. Petersburg is also this week but the only newsworthy event there is the continuing Marat Safin retirement tour. This event will be the last time Safin plays in his native Russia.

And congratulations to Mikhail Youzhny who won the Kremlin Cup and is now back in the top 25 again and also congrats to fan favorite Marcos Baghdatis who won the Stockholm Open.

Comments Off on ATP Players on the “London Bubble” Battle This Week.

Filed under ATP, Tennis

Tsonga Crashes as Nadal/Djokovic Cruise in Shanghai.

Maybe Andy Roddick was right after all?

Two more players retired yesterday at the Shanghai Masters event upping it to seven total. Stanislas Wawrinka retired due to stomach pain in his match against Radek Stepanek while Gael Monfils had a bad back in his match with Ivan Ljubicic.

Meanwhile, Jo-Wilifried Tsonga crashed out in the third round by losing 6-3, 6-3 to Robin Soderling. In the first set, Tsonga had a break point at 3-4 and hit what looked like a winning down the line backhand. But it was called out by the linesmen.

Tsonga didn’t hear the call or score and proceeded to win the next point. He thought he’d won the game but when the umpire called deuce it was only then Tsonga realized he’d lost the previous point. He claimed the umpire didn’t allow him a chance to challenge but it was actually Tsonga’s fault for not paying attention. By the way, an unofficial computer review showed the ball was in.

Tsonga never really got over that call and sulked his way through the rest of the match. But all credit to Soderling who served very well, including three aces in the final game. Soderling looks very good going into his quarterfinal match against Feliciano Lopez and I would make him the darkhorse to win the whole thing.

In other matches, Nikolay Davydenko kept his lock on Fernando Gonzalez by winning 6-3, 7-5 improving to 6-0 lifetime against the Chilean. Also Rafael Nadal won easily over countryman Tommy Robredo 6-1, 6-4 while Novak Djokovic eased past Rainer Schuettler 6-4, 6-2.

Getting back to Roddick, with the early round losses of Fernando Verdasco, Gonzalez, and Tsonga, it looks like Roddick will qualify as soon as next week for the ATP finals in London.

Comments Off on Tsonga Crashes as Nadal/Djokovic Cruise in Shanghai.

Filed under ATP, Tennis

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.

Comments Off on Safin’s Asia Love-In Ends at Shanghai.

Filed under ATP, Tennis

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.

Comments Off on Shangahi Masters Preview.

Filed under Uncategorized