Juan Carlos Ferrero has re-found his form on clay in Umag, Croatia. Ferrero defeated Andreas Seppi 6-4, 6-2 in the semi and will face Portitio Starce in the final. Ferrero was a finalist in last years final, being beaten by Nikolay Davydenko.
“Starace has been playing well for three weeks, doing well in his last few tournaments. He’s playing with a lot of confidence with his forehand. I’ll try to move him around on the court and be aggressive from the first ball. Today I played the best match of my week so far. I will try everything in my power to win the tournament. It’s an open match and I just have to go for it.”
In a side note, Ferrero flashed his bird tattoo which peaked out from his shorts.
On a day of mixed results in Hamburg, Nikolay Davydenko has continued to work his way back into form after being off the tour for some weeks with a fractured wrist. Nikolay, the defending champion, needed just 58 minutes to defeat Florent Serra in straight sets 6-3, 6-1.
Juan Carlos Ferrero also secured a straight sets win in his match over Jan Hajek after recovering from a early service break in the first set. Ferrero will have to play Jarkko Nieminen in the next round. Read more
France has annihilated Spain in their Davis Cup quarterfinal tie 5-0. It is the first time in over 50 years that Spain has been handed such a savage beating. After losing the doubles, and with it the tie, the Spaniards remained unable to produce any wins with Nicolas Almagro falling 6-7, 6-7 to Gilles Simon while Feli Lopez fell 6-7, 4-6 to Julien Benneteau.
It was a terrible result in an otherwise brilliant week for Spain. Last Sunday Rafa Nadal won Wimbledon, the Davis Cup players then celebrated Spain’s World Cup semi final win before the tie started, and just last night Spain walked away with the World Cup trophy.
France will now face Argentina in the semi’s after David Nalbandian proved to be the hero of the South American team. France have won their last four meetings with Argentina in Davis Cup.
Nalbandian was the saviour of Argentina in the last round of Davis Cup, returning unexpectedly from injury to help guide them to victory. Again David has returned from injury to help after withdrawing from Wimbledon to allow himself more healing time to ensure he was healthy for Davis Cup. “I played great, much better than Friday. I said I had to keep improving my game, and that is what I did today. We won so I’m so happy to be in the semifinals again.”
Nikolay Davydenko, also returning from injury, had struggled in the tie but managed to level the meet at two all, prior to Nalbandian’s decisive win. Davydenko had been unsure if he would play until his wife stepped in. “I said to my wife, I don’t know how I feel, maybe it would be better if I retire today. She told me, you started playing on Friday and you need to continue through till Sunday and win.”
>After the first day of play in Moscow the score is level at one all between Argentina and Russia, with big name players from both sides struggling to find form as they return from injury.
David Nalbandian made a successful return to play after a series of hamstring injuries following his return to the circuit after having hip surgery. David beat Nikolay Davydenko 6-4, 7-6, 7-6, the Russian struggling to find form after recovery from a fractured wrist. While Davydenko may have put on a dismal showing at Wimbledon, her remains inside the top ten whereas Nalbandian has dropped to number 153.
After the match Nalbandian commented that both players were struggling with their returns to tennis. “We didn’t play our best tennis, as it’s difficult coming back from injuries and it’s not easy to come back and play Davis Cup. I always believe in my game and at the beginning I saw he wasn’t too solid from the baseline and also with his serve too, so I managed to get things on my side. I tried to play the important points better and we both had a lot of chances today, but I just performed a little better on them.”
Nalbandian played an impressive aggressive match against the Russian who struggled to find his first serve. When Davydenko took a break in the second set he was unable to maintain the lead despite a huge number of errors from the Argentine. David hit a total of 65 unforced errors during the match, the difference being that he won the important points and Davydenko simply couldn’t convert his chances.
With Marat Safin sitting in the Russian player box, Mikhail Youzhny claimed his rubber in straight sets over Leonardo Mayer 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 in just over two hours. Safin is acting as a training partner for the Russian team after not having picked up a racket in nearly two months. While Marat will remain on side for the rest of the tie, it is unlikely that it will be a continuing commitment for the star.
The two most successful players from the women’s side at the French Open, Sam Stosur and Francesca Schiavone, have bombed out of Wimbledon in their first round matches.
Despite seemingly transitioning well on to grass after a respectable showing at Eastbourne, Stosur was no match for her opponent losing 6-4, 6-4 to Estonian qualifier Kaia Kanepi. Stosur lost on day two of play. Stosur attributed the loss to both her opponents play, her own poor form and to the fact she was playing on her least favourite surface. “Maybe it was the grass, maybe it wasn’t but you can’t change the surface you are on at Wimbledon. I knew I was going out to play on that surface, it is not an excuse. You have got to prepare yourself to do it every day. I tried my best, I just didn’t win… Looking at the whole picture I have got to be very happy with what I have achieved over the last few weeks and I will go home pretty happy. I want to kick on from where I was before the last two weeks. I’m really looking forward to the US summer, I am on surfaces that I really like to play.”
Just a day earlier Schiavone also fell, albeit after more of a battle, against Vera Dushevina in a match that lasted almost 3 hours with a 6-7, 7-5, 6-1 scoreline. Vera commented after the match that Francesca is a different player on grass. “Francesca is champion at Roland Garros, but there’s a lot of difference between clay and grass. I was the junior champion of Wimbledon and I know how to play on the grass. It’s much harder to play her on clay than grass. Now I really want to win more matches here and stay for the second week.”
The faulty PA system on Schiavone’s court randomly released the scoreline of the Davydenko/Anderson match and after 10 minutes of interruptions, Schiavone refused to continue play until the issue was resolved.
Schiavone had also lost in the first round of Eastbourne.
Posted in Clay courts, Eastbourne, Francesca Schiavone, Grass Courts, Kaia Kanepi, Kevin Anderson, Nikolay Davydenko, Roland Garros, Sam Stosur, Vera Dushevina, Wimbledon
While Roger Federer barely survived his first round match against Alejandro Falla, two other big names struggled to fin a way through to the second round. Nikolay Davydenko and Novak Djokovic eventually came through their five set matches while Andy Roddick was on cruise control, comfortably winning his straigth sets win over Rajeev Ram. Read more
>Juan Martin del Potro has begun his slide down the world rankings. Last week he was number 5 and this week number 6. After Roland Garros he will have slid even further down the charts. Moving into the number 5 spot is Nikolay Davydenko who is also out injured but expected to return to the tour in a matter of weeks.
Last year del Potro reached the semi-finals of Roland Garros, gaining 720 points in the process, all of which he will lose next Monday. Depending on the results of Robin Soderling and Fernando Verdasco, del Potro will most likely slip to number 8 or 9 in the rankings.
I found myself wondering today, why are players like Almagro, Soderling, Hewitt and Baghdatis playing this week, when they should be resting and fine tuning their games ahead of Roland Garros rather than playing every single week. None of these players particularly need the points or the money and all of them have had injuries this year.
The injury list for this season continues, some with serious injuries – a side effect of players playing far too many matches per year.
Missing this years Roland Garros are:
- Juan Martin del Potro (wrist surgery)
- Nikolay Davydenko (broken wrist)
- David Nalbandian (recurrent hamstring)
- Kim Clijsters (foot)
- Sania Mirza (wrist)
- Urszula Radwanska (back)
- Sabine Lisicki (ankle)
- Tommy Haas (hip surgery)
- Igor Andreev (ankle)
- James Blake (knee)
- Gilles Simon (chronic knee)
You’ve got to also wonder how Wozniacki’s ankle and Azarenka’s hamstring will hold up to the test, with Venus Williams no doubt being heavily taped again.
Posted in David Nalbandian, Gilles Simon, Igor Andreev, Injury, James Blake, Juan Martin Del Potro, Kim Clijsters, Nikolay Davydenko, Roland Garros, Sabine Lisicki, Tommy Haas., Venus Williams
He was supposed to play in Monte Carlo, but he pulled out of that and Barcelona at the same time. Then he was supposed to play in Rome but now it seems it’s not to be. Del Potro joins Davydenko on the sidelines, both with wrist injuries, and Roddick who is simply choosing not to play (or more accurately citing fatigue). Read more
It has been revealed today that David Nalbandian’s body is continuing to struggle not only with his return to tennis after almost a year off, but also with the switch from hard courts to clay courts. Nalbandian has apparently got a tear in his left hamstring that will keep him off the tour once again for two weeks. He will join the growing absentee list at Barcelona and will also miss the Rome Masters 1000.
After medical examination Nalbandian has been told he hill need 15 days recovery. He is next scheduled to play at the Madrid Masters on May 9th.
Nalbandian discussed the issues of switching surfaces after his loss in Monte Carlo against Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals. “Everyone is getting used to the clay, except for Nadal, he’s ready to go.”
Although Nadal does seem to take to clay like a duck to water, he is also having some ongoing issues and skipping the Barcelona tournament to prepare for the major titles just weeks away. Nikolay Davydenko is not expected back to the sport for some weeks yet after learning in Indian Wells that his sore wrist is actually broken. Juan Martin del Potro is also expected to return in coming weeks (he is scheduled to play Rome) after an extensive break from the tour with a wrist injury.
Posted in Barcelona, Clay courts, David Nalbandian, Hard courts, Indian Wells, Juan Martin Del Potro, Madrid, Miami, Nikolay Davydenko, Rafael Nadal, Rome