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.
Jo Wilifred-Tsonga picked up his third title of the year after winning the Rakutan Japan Open by defeating Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 6-3.
Tsonga’s first serve percentage of over seventy percent helped him control play in both sets. Youzhny did have a great event taking out both Gilles Simon and Lleyton Hewitt. Hopefully Youzhny will take this good week to get his career in gear after flirting with the top twenty for a while.
Tsonga is again playing well at year’s end in hopes of qualifying for London. And with Roddick losing early in China, Tsonga stands a good chance of passing Roddick in the rankings depending on how things shake out in Shanghai and Paris where Tsonga is defending champion.
But in the race for London, Roddick probably just has a win a match of two to qualify. After him in the race is Fernando Verdasco, Fernando Gonzalez, Jo Wilifred-Tsonga and Gilles Simon.
And nice touch at the end to have Queen’s “We Are The Champions” playing during the trophy ceremony. Perhaps the ATP should get an “Official” song for trophy event?
It’s getting down to the wire in both Tokyo for the men and in Beijing for the men and women. While the men’s event in Beijing has seen few surprises as top seeds Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic appear headed for another final clash, some upsets in the other tourneys are allowing for some intriguing matchups.
In Beijing, Svetlana Kuznetsova has been flying under the radar and playing well getting herself into the semis with a 6-3, 6-3 against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Sveta will now face Nadia Petrova who survived another tough match against Shuai Peng 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-2.
As much as I would like to see Petrova get through and win the event, I feel like Sveta, who is 4-1 lifetime against her, will find a way to win this.
The other semi has Agnieszka Radwanska against the always feisty Marion Bartoli.
Over in Tokyo, the key match will be the semifinals between Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilifred Tsonga. This is a must win match, not only as they would be the favorite in the final against either Lleyton Hewitt and the revived Mikhail Youznhy, but a good showing would help Tsonga on Monfils close in one of the final spots for the ATP Finale in London.
Filed under ATP, Tennis, WTA
With Roger Federer dropping out to change diapers in peace and Andy Murray away nursing his wrist (and probably his pride due to a so-so year) Juan Martin Del Potro became the top seed at the Rakuten Japan Open this week.
Del Potro lost in the final last year to defending champion Tomas Berdych who, let’s face it, hasn’t exactly changed much since then. Del Potro sure has though having won the U.S. Open and leaping into the top five.
With most of the top players dueling in Beijing, Del Potro could actually have an easy time winning this event. The other top seeds Jo-Wilifred Tsonga and Gilles Simon played in Thailand last week so could show up tired in the first few days, but Lleyton Hewitt and Tommy Haas could make things interesting for the big man.
But watch out for the “worm” Radek Stepanek. He always plays well at the end of the year for some reason.
My next post will take a look at the Beijing Open for the men which sees the return of Andy Roddick who probably needs a tourney win more than anybody right now.