Tag Archives: Marin Cilic

“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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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.

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Sveta and Djokovic Find Beijing Glory.

Sveta Celebrate China Win (AP Photo/Elizabeth Dalziel)

Sveta Celebrate China Win (AP Photo/Elizabeth Dalziel)

Novak Djokovic not only got back to number three in the world this weekend but also claimed his third title of the year in winning the China Open over Marin Cilic 6-2, 7-6 (4).

After 2-2 in the first set, a nearly two hour rain delay paused the match. When play resumed, Djokovic appeared fresher and used his great defensive skills to take the first set.

Cilic rebounded by breaking early in the second set and could have gone up 3-0, but he blew an overhead that would have given him break point. Djokovic held for 1-2. Cilic found success by serving big and coming to net and soon got things to 4-4.

Djokovic seemed to dwell on missed chances causing him to lose serve at 4-5. But Cilic’s backhand errors and low second serve percentage forced another break at 5-5. Djokovic promptly lost serve at 6-5 and Cilic had another chance to serve it out but got tight and double faulted the game away.

In the breaker, Djokovic played an unbelivable point from all sides of the court forcing Cilic to fall on his back but retrieved the ball anyway. Djokovic won the point at net to get to 4-2 and then went on to win the tiebreaker.

In the women’s final, Svetlana Kuznetsova had a few too many weapons in her arsenal as she disposed Agnieska Radwanska 6-2, 6-4 to claim her third title of the year.

And did anyone notice the massive size of the trophies of all the winners at the event this year? Huge would be a understatement.

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Is Cilic the “Del Potro” of 2010?

Marin Cilic Celebrates in Beijing (Getty Images)

Marin Cilic Celebrates in Beijing (Getty Images)

With his impressive 6-1, 6-3 blowout of Rafael Nadal in the semifinals of the China Open, Marin Cilic, who I predicted could make a run in the tourney, has found himself in the final against Novak Djokovic.

Cilic, who won two events earlier in the spring, has had an up and down year but had suddenly found his game and confidence, especially against the very elite players. This was the same guy who was down two sets to love against Jesse Levine in the second round of the U.S. Open, but then pulled that out in five sets and then went on to thump a lazy Andy Murray in the next round.

Cilic has always had the big game, but like Juan Martin Del Potro, it is more about confidence and belief. If Cilic can continue this, he could definitely find himself in the top ten or even top five by next year.

As for Nadal he can look forward to Shanghai and London to perhaps salvage his year. Strange to be saying that after he started the year winning Australia and cementing the number one ranking.

Let me know what you think.

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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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